Sep 18, 2019: The government on Wednesday announced a new tax incentive policy for Pakistan-based shipping companies to lessen dependency on foreign vessels.
Addition of more Pakistan-registered ships with the involvement of private sector would help reduce around Rs 5 billion freight charges paid to the foreign shipping companies, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi told a press conference here on Wednesday Flanked by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood, he said the new companies would be exempted from income and sales tax, and custom duty till 2030.
The Pakistani flag carrier ships would be given berthing priority, with payment of freight charges in Pakistani rupees instead of United States (US) dollar to minimize dependency on foreign currency, he added.
The minister said along with the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), the new shipping companies would be given equal preference for private sector cargo through the bidding process.
Zaidi said the PNSC would continue to be charged one dollar per gross register tonnage (GRT) while the new companies would have to pay dollar 0.75.
He said the initiative would generate more employment for seafarers in the country.
The minister said hydrocarbon cargoes imported by the government organizations and state controlled enterprises, including MOGAS, High Sulphur Furnace Oil (HSFO), Low Sulphur Furnace Oil (LSFO) , High Speed Diesel (HSD), Liquefied Petroleum Gas( LPG), Crude Oil and Coal, would be imported on Free On Board (FOB) basis through the PNSC owned vessels.
Zaidi said the new government to government bilateral Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports would also be negotiated on FOB basis and shipments to be made through PNSC owned or PNSC chartered vessels.
Advisor Razzak Dawood said the shipping sector had been classified as a strategic industry, and the banks would assist businessman to import ships.
The shipping sector remained neglected for many decades after nationalization but under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, steps were being taken for its reviavl, he added.