20 -June 02, 2002
MEDICINES WORTH RS400M LYING AT PORT
Large consignments of imported drugs and medicines
worth over Rs400 million have been lying at the port for last two
months over a dispute of payment of 15 per cent general sales tax. As
a result of this many medicines are running in short supply in the
Over three dozen containers loaded with life saving
drugs and other medicines, not manufactured locally, are awaiting
customs clearance because the importers of these drugs and medicines
are reluctant to pay 15 per cent GST.
These consignments mostly belong to those importers
who had opened letters of credit (LCs) and executed their shipments
prior to the levy of 15 per cent GST on medicines and drugs on March
Importers apprehend that if they meet the demand of
the customs authorities and pay the disputed 15 per cent GST this will
result in heavy losses as they had already made advance sale of these
medicines at the old rates and prior to arrival of these consignments.
"I had established my L/C much prior to the
levy of disputed 15 per cent sales tax on medicines and as a normal
practice I had also made advance sale of the booked consignments
without taking into account the impact of sales tax," a leading
drug importer told.
"Now, if I pay sales tax at import stage who
will ensure that the amount paid on this account will be refunded to
my buyer, who had already finalized the deal without taking into
account the impact of 15 per cent GST," he asserted.
Dr. Mushtaq Noorwala, vice-chairman, Pakistan
Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA), told on Monday that his
association has also taken up the issue with the government and hoped
some positive results will come out. However, he was highly critical
about the role of the bureaucracy and said long delay in resolving the
issue might have deteriorated the quality of such a sensitive cargo
like medicines and drugs.
TV INDUSTRY FEARS LOSING RS3BN INVESTMENT
The local television industry is up in arms against
a possible government move to include television import at zero rate
duty in the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) agreement , fearing over Rs3
billion investment wipe-off and unemployment of over 4,000 employees.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are engaged in fresh
negotiations to hammer out a new transit trade agreement under which a
majority of the items de-listed earlier are to be included back.
Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood is due to visit Kabul later this
month to give a final shape to the agreement.
"The local industry will collapse, if these
two negative developments take place," Chairman, Pakistan
Electronics Manufacturers Association (PEMA), Sarfarazuddin, informed
commerce minister Razak Dawood few days back.
Domestic TV assemblers — 10 in all — fear a
fresh wave of television sets smuggling into Pakistan from Afghanistan
if the new ATT includes television sets import at zero rate.
PRIVATE SECTOR HELP SOUGHT IN PORT PROJECTS
Steps are under way to obtain the cooperation of
private sector in development projects of Karachi Port Trust and Port
Qasim Authority. This was stated by Communications and Railways
Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi while presiding over the communications
conference held on Monday. The conference reviewed country-wide
communications development projects.
The minister said the implementation of the
Shipping Ordinance would be ensured for the development of shipping
sector, and Karachi Port was centre of the industrial activity in the
country. He said new navigation system had been installed at Port
Qasim that would help continue shipping traffic at night.
HIGH PRICE, LOW STOCKS HIT RICE EXPORTS
High domestic prices and depleting stocks kept the
rice exports under pressure in the past week and are likely to keep
business dull in coming weeks, dealers said on Monday.
They said domestic prices were likely to stay high
owing to low stocks available in the market, which had almost stopped
Traders said lower-than-expected output from the
latest crop had raised domestic prices and foreign buyers were not
willing to pay high Pakistani export prices.
Pakistan has scaled down its rice output estimate
for fiscal 2001-02 (July-June) to four million tons from 4.74 million
tons because of irrigation water shortages during the growing season.
The country's annual domestic rice consumption is
around 2.3 million tons.
GOVT WILL NOT ALLOW IMPORT OF USED CARS: RAZAK
Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood has declared
emphatically of the government's intention of not allowing import of
used cars despite the fact that the market is still facing shortage of
cars and dealers continue to charge premium.
He made this statement in the 53rd meeting of the
Advisory Council of Ministry of Commerce held in Islamabad last week,
which was attended by a large number of businessmen from various
EXPORT TO AFGHANISTAN GOES UP
Export to Afghanistan rose by 2.61 per cent to
$94.3 million during the July-March period of the current financial
year against $91.9 million during the same period last year.
Well-placed sources told that the government
expected that exports would pick up in May and June of the current
EXPORTERS SUFFER DUE TO WRS
The war risk surcharge being charged by the
shipping lines from Pakistani exporters after the terror raids on the
US soil on September 11 has cost them (exporters) $234 million.