Minister stresses to assist imports

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar on Monday emphasized on formulating the mechanism to resolve the problems of stranded goods at the ports.
A meeting chaired by Federal Minister Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar and co-chaired by Federal Minister Maritime Affairs Faisal Sabzwari was held today at KPT head office, in Karachi, said a press release issued here.
The meeting was attended by top officials of the Commerce Ministry, Customs, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ports and other stakeholders to review the situation in order to facilitate the importers in terms of detention and other levies and expeditious clearance.
The minister also stressed on taking steps to open commercial Letter of Credits (LCs) to facilitate the business community; for promoting trade; effective implementation of policies to increase exports; reduction in current account deficit; and better regulatory environment for economic growth to be implemented.
Owing to the significant decline in the country’s forex reserves, commercial banks have refused to open the Letters of Credit (LCs) of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and refineries which might lead to a shortage of petroleum products by February.
“If banks do not open the LCs of OMCs and refineries, shortage of petroleum products is likely to begin with the start of February, 2023 in the country,” said officials in the Oil Industry.
They added that due to delay/cancellation of LCs, currently three cargoes carrying 16 lakh barrels of crude oil of Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) and Pak-Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) are facing critical delays.
Also, a total 21 LCs of petrol, two LCs of crude oil, four LCs of high speed diesel (HSD) and lubricants are not opened so far by the banks of the country.
Syed Muhammad Taha, Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) in a meeting held on January 19, 2023, under the chair Additional Secretary Petroleum Division warned that the country is having limited stocks and such a situation can lead the supply to dry out.