Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) appreciated the assurance of the federal finance minister (FM) Ishaq Dar to make efforts to appreciate the value of the rupee to bring the exchange rate at rupees 98 to a dollar. The SMEs have lauded his intentions.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the mere statement of the FM has made the difference and the rupee showed marginal appreciation.
He said this is surely possible if the FM checks the free imports and restricts imports to only by declared money, imports need to be controlled as everything under the sun is being imported and the country is importing more than the really essential causing setback to local industry.
He said the big merchants are importing huge quantities of goods from different countries by financing it by the undeclared money causing pressure on the dollar and its availability due to heavy demand.
He urged the FM to immediately issue instructions to establish import letter of credits (LCs) only with declared money and no letter of credit to be established from outside the books money.
He said commodities are imported by undeclared money and up to 100% margin money is deposited in banks and when the vessel arrives dollars are purchased by banks who act as authorized agents and purchase the dollars for payment of import bills on due dates and nobody questions the importer whether the dollar is purchased by money available in the books or undeclared money.
He4 also suggested that since due to the agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO) the government cannot disallow imports but it can surely discourage imports by imposing import duties and declining finance against imports. The government can however seek special permission and place some items on the negative list. It is indeed very unfortunate that some importers resort to importing consumer goods manufactured in Pakistan of international standards.
UNISAME suggested to the FM to issue immediate instructions to the concerned departments to verify the imports to check imports with undeclared money and this will reduce imports of luxury and superfluous goods and lower the rate of exchange and appreciate the rupee.
The market is flooded with imported goods of all sorts even goods of good quality manufactured in Pakistan are imported by the easy money and this needs to be checked as on the one hand the local industry is suffering and secondly there is heavy buying of the foreign currency to pay the import bills.