In light of the government’s decision to proactively engage and solve problems faced by Trade and Industry during the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Commerce is regularly interacting with the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
In this regard, four meetings have been held so far on 31st March, 1st April, 2nd April and 8th April 2020. President of FPCCI, President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, President of Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, President of Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce & Industry, President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chairman EDB attended the meetings.
Two of these meetings were chaired by the Advisor on Commerce & Investment while two were chaired by the Secretary Ministry of Commerce.
During these meetings, representatives of Trade & Industry informed about the issues faced by the business community. The issues involved were related to:
- Cash flow problems
- Mark up on loans
- Maturity of letters of Credit (L/C)
- Early refund of Sales Tax
- Payment of Duty Drawback
- A drawback of Local Taxes
- Levies (DLTL)
- Deferring the payment of gas and electricity bills of industries
- Allowing confirmed export orders to be dispatched
- Allowing movement of workers of the three critical sectors i.e. food, pharmaceuticals, and energy, finding alternative sources for the imported food items, making SOPs for export-oriented industries to allow them to function and the like.
Participants were assured of the early resolution of their problems by taking up these issues during the meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) of the National Coordination Committee.
Problems and issues faced by the business community were discussed in detail. All the concerned Ministries, State Bank of Pakistan and Provincial Governments are working together to mitigate the difficulties faced by businesses community during this national emergency.
The participants were also informed that the Ministry of Commerce has already tasked its Trade and Investment Officers posted abroad to explore new and viable markets for the import of food items and to ensure that export orders of Pakistani exporters are not canceled.
The request of the importers for extension in the maturity of L/Cs has also been taken up with the State Bank of Pakistan through the Ministry of Finance. It was stated that the Ministry of Commerce has already released the due payment of DLTL up to March 2020.