Restrictions Are Still There on Import of Raw Materials

Karachi (PR): Mr. Suleman Chawla, Acting President FPCCI, has categorically refuted the claims and assertions made by SBP that there are no restrictions in place on import of raw materials. Import payments not being cleared swiftly by SBP are resulting in disruptions in industrial production; unbearable demurrages & container charges; loss-making delays in fulfillment of export orders; inflationary pressures in the domestic markets and compounding of discouraging investor sentiments, he added.

Acting FPCCI Chief explained that due to the unavailability of foreign exchange, continuous rupee depreciation, speculative trading and delays by SBP, manufacturers and commercial importers are in a jeopardy and exports have started to fall. The country will suffer due to the dwindling exports, increasing trade deficit and yawning current account deficit (CAD), he added.

Mr. Suleman Chawla has maintained that SBP has failed in exercising its constitutional duties of effectively regulating the commercial banks through various policy tools at its disposal; and, commercial banks are making windfall profits through speculative trading of dollars. FPCCI has time and again reminded SBP, in no uncertain terms, of their responsibilities to control commercial banks; but, it is always unfruitful & goes in vain, he added.

Acting FPCCI President emphasized that dollar is trading in the open market at a premium of PKR. 8 – 10 and it is a glaring testimony of the fact that the importers are not being able to source the dollars that they need to fulfill their import contracts and related commercial transactional procedures from the banking channels. It will only aggravate the situation and promote the informal open market, he added.

Mr. Suleman Chawla pointed out that there are still difficulties in opening LCs with commercial banks under chapter 84 & 85 of the custom tariff; despite the claimed circular issued by SBP to the commercial banks and that reflects badly on SBP’s ability to implement its regulatory role. However, he emphasized, SBP has all the means and policy tools to implement its decisions & circulars.

Engr. M. A. Jabbar, VP FPCCI, highlighted that despite taking responsibility of its failure, SBP has resorted to blaming the industrialists and their representatives; who are already under unprecedented strains due to the various other factors in addition to the dearth of dollars in the banking channel. Engr. Jabbar added that FPCCI sees SBP’s conduct as detrimental to industrial growth, an utter lack of responsibility, insensitivities to people’s sufferings due to depleting employment opportunities, debilitating inflation and counterintuitive coupled with lack of initiative to fulfill its mandated duties.

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General