KARACHI: Thousands of containers of edible products are stranded at the ports causing congestion and losses to the importers as after government issued of SRO No. 237(I)/2019 on February 19, 2019 making it mandatory for food products to have Halal certification and labeling in Urdu.
The importers are reluctant of filing Goods Declaration (GD) as the GDs are filed, importers are served with show cause notices for not meeting the requirements as prescribed in the said SRO. Imtiaz Superstore has been served with one such notice.[the_ad id=”31605″]Anjum Nisar, former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said that containers were piling at the ports causing congestion while several importers were reluctant to file the goods declaration (GD) for clearance. “As soon as the importers file GD for import clearance, they are served Show Cause Notices for not meeting the requirements as prescribed by the SRO No. 237(I)/2019. Imtiaz supermarket has been served one such notice,” Nisar informed.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) stated that SRO 237, which was finalized and implemented without any consultation with the business community and other stakeholders, was not acceptable in its present state and it has to be reviewed in consultation with all stakeholders.
Referring to a letter sent to PM’s Advisor and the discussions held with Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli about the implementation of SRO 237(I)/ 2019 dated February 19, 2019, President KCCI said that although the PM’s Advisor clarified that the said SRO will be implemented from July 1, 2019 but no notification carrying the exact date of implementation has been issued so far which has created a confusing situation and resulted in blockade of containers at the ports which is totally contrary to government’s resolve towards the ease of doing business.
Nasir Arain, an office bearers of FMCG Importers Association, said that thousands of containers were stuck up, which include import consignments of mega marts including Imtiaz, Naheed etc. “Edible products are imported from across the world and it is not easy to get the labeling in Urdu and Halal certification in such a limited time.”
Importers of edible products are suffering losses, while there is a shortage of imported edible products in the market.
A Customs official said the import clearance of edible products was at a halt. However, he added, that smuggling of such goods had increased manifold.
“Regrettably, it seems that the situation is much more serious than originally thought, since the new measure will not be applied to cargoes that were in transit before February 19, but for all others, the regulation is of immediate application and the Minister of Commerce remains firm in not granting a transitional period. In addition, he has specified that it will be necessary to make an information label in Urdu, specific for Pakistan (a sticker will not be acceptable) and that it must include the Halal seal. Additionally, Halal Regulation, which is still to be defined, seems to be intended to apply also to products of plant origin,” an importer said.
International credibility of Pakistan is at stake for cancelling confirmed orders with international suppliers. Many containers are ready with the suppliers since weeks, but could not be shipped due to clearance issues at Customs.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda has requested Advisor to PM for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood to instruct relevant department to inform all concerned about the implementation date of SRO 237(I)/2019 i.e. July 1, 2019 to prevent blockage of clearance of pending consignments and direct the Ministry of Commerce & Textile (Commerce Division) to issue necessary amendment in the SRO stating the effective date as 1st July’2019.