KARACHI: Pakistan has removed restrictions on the import of 826 items that were imposed between 2017 and 2022.
This move includes removing the condition of depositing up to 100% payment in advance for the import of hundreds of items. Major items that have been freed from import restrictions include raw material for cement and steel, vehicle parts, confectioneries, chocolate, mineral water, cigarette paper, electrical and electronic goods, and some machinery and parts.
The State Bank of Pakistan has issued a circular stating that the cash margin requirement on import of items has been withdrawn. This decision is viewed as a step towards reviving the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme, which was a pre-requisite condition for the IMF.
Experts have stated that the decision to remove restrictions on imports is positive for the country. The lifting of import restrictions comes after Pakistan’s current account deficit narrowed to a two-year low in February 2023 due to import control measures.
However, the risk of default on foreign debt repayment remains, and limited foreign exchange reserves are a concern.