Demurrage: Importers stress action against companies violating PM’s orders

The commercial and industrial importers have asked the Prime Minister to take action against those companies, who have continuously been violating the government advice and refusing the clear directions of various state agencies like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Engineering Development Board to relax detention and demurrage charges at least during the lockdown period.

Friends of Business & Economic Reforms (FEBR) President Kashif Anwar, while talking to a delegation of importers on Sunday, observed that more than two weeks have passed but no relief has been announced by any shipping line or port terminal.

“We request the premier to ask the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to instruct all the shipping terminals and shipping lines not to charge demurrage and detention till the pandemic is over. Also, we further request for refund of demurrage, detention and other charges to those importers who have paid them to clear their consignments during this period of lockdown.”

Anwar also lambasted the terminal authorities for rejecting the FBR’s recommendations to extend free period at terminals for charging demurrage, in line with the lockdown extension in the country.

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He was of the view that at a time when federal as well as the provincial governments are endeavoring to facilitate the business community on account of the lockdown, the terminal authorities and shipping companies have flatly refused the proposals of EDB and FBR, which is sheer violation of the PM’s directives to facilitate the businesses.

“The authorities’ target is just profit and revenue generation even in the time of worldwide pandemic and grave financial crisis. “The each and every department all around the country is struggling to provide maximum facilities to the industry but the terminal authorities are not ready to cooperate.”

“We want to bring in your kind notice that in the absence of feasible economic conditions, the liquidity situation of businesses have badly disturbed. It is impossible for commercial and industrial importers to bear further financial losses and pay exorbitant detention and demurrage charges,” the FEBR president addressed to the premier.

Majority of raw materials consumed by the local industry are not produced domestically and local manufacturers in order to run their industries smoothly have to depend on imported materials, he added.

Keeping in view of the further lockdown, the government could be the only facilitator for the business community to help them in curtailing their losses in these hard times, he maintained.

“We request PM on behalf of the all industrial and commercial importers, to take penal action against those companies, which are not implementing the directives of the government,” Anwar said.

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