‘Export of over 300 onion containers allowed’

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Customs Department allowed on Friday the export of more than 300 onion containers after receiving clearance certificates, a former office-bearer of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters and Importers Association (PFVA) told Pakistan Today.

“The Customs authorities have agreed to allow these containers to be exported shortly,” said PFVA founder and ex-chairman Waheed Ahmed.

He said more than 300 onion containers amounting to around $3.2 million had been blocked by the Customs soon after the federal cabinet’s decision of banning onion exports on Thursday despite clearance from the relevant department of quality certification.

The onion consignments with phytosanitary certificates were already ready to be loaded on vessels on Friday, Ahmed said.

Former PFVA chairman Aslam Pakhali was earlier assured by Chief Collector Customs (Export) Wasif Memon to allow exports of all those onion containers having Phyto- certificate until the receiving of notification on ban on onion export by the customs.

On Thursday, the association had written a letter to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Industries Abdul Razak Dawood about the cabinet’s decision of banning export of onion with an immediate effect till 30 May 30, 2020.

According to Waheed Ahmed, the Adviser was informed through the letter about serious concerns of onion exporters who said such an important decision was made without any consultation with the main stakeholders.

The association further said as the onion’s shelf life was quite short and it couldn’t be stored for a longer period, the ban would lead to a huge financial loss for the exporters as well as the national exchequer.

The onion exporters have already received advance payments from the foreign buyers. The ECC should have given PFVA at least 10 days prior to imposing ban on export so that the orders already procured had been taken care of, the letter stated.

Minister Razak Dawood had informed the exporters that the government had issued no such notification of ban on the onion exports, Ahmed quoted the minister as having said.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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