Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Muffasar Atta Malik, has urged the State Bank of Pakistan to extend the deadline for scrapping the open account facility for importers.
According to local media sources, in a letter sent to the SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa, KCCI president stated that many of its member companies had complained that their consignments were stuck due to restrictions imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan.
As per this facility, importers were permitted to make imports without opening of letters of credit or registering invoices with the Authorized Dealers, and would make remittances only after the receipt of goods in Pakistan. Under this facility, authorized dealers were allowed to make remittances on behalf of importers against imports made using this facility.
It was then the responsibility of the Authorized Dealers to ensure that the importer made payments against goods imported on an open account basis within six months from the date of filing of the Goods Declaration Form.
The State Bank of Pakistan, via a circular issued on July 20, 2018, had revoked this facility for importers and had brought it to the attention of these Authorized Dealers. The facility was only made available from there onwards to manufacturing and industrial users for the import of spare parts and raw materials, while all other importers were not permitted to make use of this facility any longer.
However, relief was granted to those goods that were in transit at the time of the issuance of this order by the State Bank, provided a Goods Declaration against such consignments was filed by the importers with Pakistan Customs by August 10, 2018.
According to KCCI President, the withdrawal of this facility is likely to increase hardships for the importers.