Senate Body Wants Increase in Dollar Rate Offered by Banks to Curb Currency Smuggling

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce on Wednesday recommended that the dollar rate offered by banks should be increased to address the menace of dollar smuggling.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, chaired by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, was held on Wednesday where the issue of dollar smuggling was discussed and the committee recommended that the dollar rate in banks should be increased to address this menace.

The meeting discussed problems faced by the business community especially the textile industry due to the non-clearance of LCs causing the closure of industrial units and import of edible food items from various countries to ensure availability in markets at affordable rates.

Discussing issues faced by the textile industry due to non-clearance of LCs, the committee was informed that the State Bank of Pakistan had directed authorized dealers to seek prior permission from Foreign Exchange Operations Department (FEOD), SBP-BSC for initiating the import transaction of specific goods through the issuance of letter/amendment of credit, registration/amendment of the contract, making advance payments and authorizing transactions on open account or collections basis.

The Ministry of Commerce made a list and requested SBP to withdraw the condition for prior permission for certain essential goods. Regular meetings were held in this regard and assurances were given that banks would prioritize import-related transactions of export-oriented sectors.

As of December 2022, the restrictions have been removed for import transactions pertaining to HS codes Chapter 84 and 85 and they have been effective from January 2. Requests for import transactions have already been submitted.

The committee stressed the need for stringent measures to be taken to ensure that the issue is addressed at the earliest.

While reviewing the matter of import of edible food items from various countries, the committee was of the view that trade ties must be enhanced with the African Block as well, especially with Ethiopia since edible items are available there at extremely economical rates.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Senate Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Danesh Kumar, and senior officers of the Ministry of Commerce along with its attached departments and agencies.