Govt considering to suspend import ban to make exports ‘competitive’

Govt import ban

In a bid to elevate the country’s exports, the government is considering lifting the ban imposed on May 19 on the import of “non-essential and luxury items”. Reports also suggest that the government has undertaken plans to provide energy at subsidised rates throughout the current fiscal year.

According to inside sources, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had a special virtual meeting planned for Sunday to approve the subsidised energy tariffs. However, it was abruptly postponed for a day to be combined with another meeting on Monday with significant topics on the agenda.

The government expected about $3 billion in inflows from “some friends” during the current week and wanted to give a “confidence and feel-good sense to the market” by supporting five export-oriented sectors and simultaneously clearing import payables and gradually easing restrictions on most imports (except mobile phones and automobiles) imposed on about 85 items for a temporary period.

The commerce ministry has requested that power be supplied to five export-oriented industries — jute, leather, carpet, surgical, and sporting goods — from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, at final, all-inclusive pricing of nine cents per unit (kilowatt-hour, or kWh).

However, due to their significant negative effects on foreign exchange, the importation of mobile phones and automobiles would be prohibited for the foreseeable future.

Expensive phones and vehicles that were already in the import process when the ban was put in place were already given relief last week by being permitted to clear the port with a 5pc surcharge after arriving within two weeks of May 19 and with a 15pc surcharge for items that arrived two weeks after the ban and before June 30.

Govt notifies ban on luxury items’ import

On May 20, the government notified a ban on the import of 38 non-essential luxury items under an “emergency economic plan”.

The notification came after Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb unveiled the emergency economic plan and banned the imports of dozens of non-essential luxury items.

List of banned items, automobiles, mobile phones, home appliances, fruits and dry fruits (except those coming from Afghanistan) crockery, private weapons and ammunition, shoes, chandeliers and lighting (except energy savers), headphones and loudspeakers, sauces, doors and window frames, travelling bags and suitcases, sanitary ware, fish and frozen fish, carpets (except those coming from Afghanistan), preserved fruits, tissue paper, furniture, shampoos, confectionery, luxury mattresses and sleeping bags, jams and jelly, cornflakes, toiletries, heaters, blowers, sunglasses, kitchenware, aerated water, frozen meat etc.

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