In a press release issued by the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) Exchange Policy Department on Monday, the subject line states “Import of Goods cases at port or in Transit.” The SBP has advised banks to offer a one-time accommodation to all importers by extending their payment terms to 180 days or more, or by helping them to arrange funds from overseas to settle their outstanding import payments.
Banks have been instructed to process and release documents for shipments that have already arrived at ports in Pakistan or have been shipped on or before January 18, 2023, until March 31, 2023. This move is in response to concerns raised by the business community, including trade organizations and chambers of commerce, who have reported that a significant number of shipping containers carrying imported goods are being held up at ports due to delays in the release of shipping documents by banks. Additionally, the SBP has noted that “perishable items” are piling up at the ports due to these delays.
The document further states that importers can negotiate longer payment terms with their foreign suppliers or get funding from abroad to pay for their imports. Authorized Dealers (ADs) can also process these import transactions as long as the goods have arrived at the port in Pakistan or have been shipped on or before January 18, 2023, as shown by the bill of lading/airways bill. This one-time facilitation will only be available until March 31, 2023. ADs were also told by the SBP to inform their customers and banks before starting any import transactions.
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