FPCCI welcomes SBP decision on stuck-up containers


LAHORE             -          Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh Monday welcomed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) policy decision to allow clearance of pending LCs [letter of credit] of the containers stuck at the ports or those which are in-transit. He said the issue was causing detention charges, demurrage, shortages of raw materials for industrial production, closure of major industrial units, disruptions in the supplies of agricultural inputs, closure of plants due to unavailability of spare-parts of the machinery and equipment, non-fulfillment of export orders, loss of revenue due to dwindling production and massive layoffs.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh highlighted that the SBP had advised commercial banks to provide facilitation to those importers who could extend their payment terms to 180 days or more; else, to those who could arrange for funds for their import payments from abroad. Additionally, commercial banks had also been advised to release the documents of shipments that had arrived at port in Pakistan already or for those shipments which had been in-transit on/before January 18, 2023. He mentioned that the SBP governor visited the FPCCI Head Office and listened to the grievances of trade and industry in detail.

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The session was attended by prominent personalities of country’s all chambers, trade bodies and associations – either in-person or through video link from across various cities and countries. Irfan Sheikh stated that the FPCCI had worked very hard to persuade the SBP in this regard as many industries had already shut down their production units and many more industrial units were about to do the same. The FPCCI delivered the results for the entire business community and in the larger national interest, he added. Irfan Sheikh thanked business community in general and the FPCCI office-bearers and members in particular for their hectic efforts in this regard and not losing hope along the lines.

He added, “We used every possible platform at our disposal to get the plea of the business community heard,” he asserted. The FPCCI president demanded that the SBP should closely monitor commercial banks to ensure that the decision was implemented in letter and spirit as it had become a matter of survival for hundreds of factories and thousands of jobs. He also proposed that preference should be given to export-oriented industries; food products; industrial raw materials; energy producing imports and agricultural raw materials while clearing the backlog.

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