Government frees cars stuck in ports

ISLAMABAD:

In a major easing, the government has allowed the release of vehicles imported by overseas Pakistanis as they have been stuck in ports since January 2021.

According to the Commerce Division, the government has allowed overseas Pakistanis to import used vehicles for up to five years under the Residency and Gift Schemes in accordance with eligibility criteria, conditions and the established import procedure.

Previously, Overseas Pakistanis had approached the Ministry of Commerce, asking for ad hoc assistance following the delay in the arrival of imported cars of 2017 model due to late departure of ships following Covid-related movement restrictions. .

Based on these facts, the Cabinet Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), in a decision issued on May 21, 2021, condoned the delay in shipping the vehicles.

Subsequently, the federal cabinet ratified the ECC’s decision in June 2021. The cabinet’s decision came into effect on June 18, 2021. Some overseas Pakistanis again approached the Ministry of Commerce, this time for the granting of a single derogation on the age limit of their imported vehicles, blocked in ports since January 2021.

These vehicles could not be cleared as they were a few days over the permitted age limit, which was mainly due to the delay in shipment due to Covid related curbs. The Department of Commerce pointed out at a cabinet meeting on January 18 that the vehicles could have been cleared if they had been imported before December 3, 2020.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also supported the argument that freighter schedules/travel had been severely affected by the current Covid-19 situation around the world.

Therefore, in order to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, the Ministry of Commerce has proposed that general relaxation may be granted until January 10, 2021 for the clearance of imported vehicles, which may have passed the age limit. allowed up to 10 days and awaiting customs clearance. The Ministry of Commerce revealed that it had shared a draft summary with the FBR for its views and comments. Under Paragraph 20 of the 2020 IPO, the federal government was empowered to permit imports by relaxing prohibitions or restrictions contained in the IPO.

In view of this, the Ministry of Commerce sought cabinet approval to grant a one-time exemption to overseas Pakistanis whose vehicles had been imported and stranded at ports. The cabinet reviewed the summary titled “Vehicles Imported by Overseas Pakistanis”, submitted by the Commerce Division, and approved the proposal for clearance of vehicles parked at ports.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28and2022.

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