A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held under the chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada today, where members urged the federal government to lift the ban on vehicle imports for disabled persons.
Ministry of Commerce officials highlighted the existing vehicle facility provided by the State Bank for disabled persons. The Ministry of Industry and Production objected to lifting the ban on importing second-hand cars for disabled individuals. Senator Abdul Qadir dismissed the objection, advocating for affordable vehicle imports for people with disabilities.
A summary in 2021 considered the duty-free import of second-hand cars for disabled persons, but objections from the Ministry of Industry were raised.
The committee unanimously supported allowing disabled individuals to import used vehicles, with a decision expected within three months. The committee also recommended allowing imports of vehicles with a capacity exceeding 1300 cc for disabled persons. Senator Fida Muhammad raised concerns about license requirements for disabled individuals, questioning the practicality of fulfilling NTN and license conditions.
Senator Salim Mandviwala highlighted that 16% of the country’s population is disabled, advocating for a comprehensive and swift decision-making process for their vehicle imports.
Focus on Halting Export of Raw Salt
The meeting also delved into crucial matters such as the proposed law to halt the export of raw salt. The Ministry of Commerce asserted the federal government’s authority over imports and exports, noting the existing ban on wheat, sugar, and urea exports.
Commerce Ministry officials stressed the necessity for consultations to amend import and export policies proposed by the Senators. Salim Mandviwala proposed discontinuing raw salt exports, urging the Ministry to facilitate value addition. Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi emphasized the need for proposals to enhance the value of salt, currently exported at an annual value of $50 million.
Officials suggested utilizing the Export Development Fund for a comprehensive study on salt’s value addition. The officials also highlighted the largely deregulated salt sector, citing the recent assignment of a Geographical Indication (GI) tag to promote branding and marketing.
Contrary to misconceptions, Ministry of Commerce officials clarified that they do not impose bans on single items but through the Export Policy Order. They emphasized compliance with World Trade Organization sanctions and clarified that the aim is not to halt trade but to encourage value-added exports.
Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi asked for a detailed report on the matter within a month.