Delay implementation of SRO-237 to save importers and traders from financial losses. Amendments in SRO-237 are appreciative however its instant implementation has created financial troubles for importers. Commerce ministry should order immediate clearance of edibles.

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(March 27, 2019)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that import policy order 2016 has been amended vide SRO-237 on February 19, 2019 wherein several amendments including Halal labelling, Halal certification, specification of ingredients & nutrition details in Urdu and English have become mandatory for edibles. These formalities are added to the import policy order 2016 under which edibles have been imported in the Country. As the imported edibles do not fulfil the requirements of said SRO, therefore, its clearance has stopped.

The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that the adviser to Prime Minister for commerce Razak Dawood has promised that the SRO will come into effect from July 1, 2019, while there is no specified date, due to which the date of issuance of the SRO has been considered its implementation date and no addendum to this effect has so far issued. Delay in clearance of edibles is causing additional demurrage and detention charges which will be added to the cost of imported goods and will ultimately be shifted to consumers.

The Former Minister said that government should consider the crisis risen through instant implementation of this SRO and should delay its enforcement till July 2019. In addition, he was of the view that the demurrage and detention charges imposed due to delay in clearance of all such products should be waived off and orders for early clearance of stopped consignments should be issued in order to give relief to the importers.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that hundreds of containers are waiting for their clearance on various ports due to immediate implementation of this SRO which is also causing scarcity of edibles resulting in inflationary rates of such products. Pakistan already stands at 136 worldwide regarding ease of doing business and such legal difficulties create more trouble to the businessmen and importers.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that it is vital to give proper representation to the business community while amending existing trade related laws or forming new laws so that effective laws can be formed collectively which can draw better impact on trade and economic outlook of the Country. Government has ignored the business community while amending import policy 2016, which is regretful.

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