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.
In a statement issued, President KCCI stated that SRO 237, which has been 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.
He demanded that the losses suffered by importers on account of demurrage and detention due to the confusion must be waived off to provide some relief to perturbed traders who have been constantly approaching KCCI to seek assistance. “It is a matter of grave concern that Customs Authorities remain confined to SRO 237 and were not paying any attention to the hardships being faced by traders hence, the Ministry of Commerce must issue the clarification about the implementation date so that SRO 237 is not misused to create problems for traders”, he added.
He said that since the effective date of 1st July’2019 was not mentioned in the SRO.237, in legal terms date of issue has been interpreted as the effective date, and customs officials at various levels have held the clearance of cargo on pretext of seeking clarification from FBR which led to delays and resulted in raising the costs of demurrage and detention to the importers.
He was of the opinion that the implementation of said SRO from July 1, 2019 has provided sufficient time period of more than three months to foreign manufacturers of food stuffs to comply with recent amendments in the Import Policy Order 2016.
According to SRO 237, it has been made mandatory that the ingredients and details of the imported food products (e.g. nutritional facts, usage instructions etc.) shall be printed in Urdu and English languages on consumer packaging while the logo of Halal certification body shall also be printed on the consumer packaging and the labelling shall not be in the form of a sticker, overprinting, stamp or scratched label.
Moreover, the importers have been further advised that the shipment shall be accompanied by a Halal Certificate issued by Halal Certification Body, accredited with an Accrediting Body which is a member of International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) or Standard Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries.