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Ali Zaidi Assures APTMA of Resolving Ports Related Issues on Priority

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LAHORE– Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi has assured All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) of resolving ports relating issues on priority.
He visited the APTMA Punjab office on Friday. Central Chairman APTMA Adil Bashir and Chairman North Zone Abdul Rahim Nasir, along with other office-bearers of the association, welcomed him on the occasion.
He lauded the role of the textile industry for the economic turnaround of Pakistan, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan has focused on the export-oriented sector to put the economy back on track. He said 8 percent growth in textile exports during July-Jan 2021 is quite impressive despite the negative impact of COVID-19 and expressed the hope that the export-oriented sector continue attracting new investments to create new jobs and increase exports of the country.
He said his ministry was working on improving the efficiency of ports in the country and make Pakistan a hub for transit trade in the region, especially in areas like cargo scanning, delivery, loading, in/out gate timings etc.
Zaidi also shared details on the world-class facilities available at the country’s ports and their digitization and other services. He said new initiatives in the logistics sector, including the setting up of a new freight company, are under consideration of his ministry. Work on the integration and connectivity between Sea Ports and Dry Ports on a real-time basis is also underway, he added.
According to him, adequate port structure and value-added services at ports are being put in place to contribute toward trade facilitation and improve Logistic Performance Index of the country from the current level of 2.42.
Earlier, APTMA leadership pointed out the issues like reluctance by port authorities to waive demurrage even after custom delay/detention certificates, reduction in container and customs dwell times to reduce costs.
Chairman APTMA said cargo transshipment to Dry Ports in Punjab has plunged and business is reverting back to Karachi due to levy of Cess, which is needed to be addressed immediately. Also, he proposed the minister to allow an online system in all shipping lines for submission of empty containers at Lahore yard instead of Karachi. Reduction in the bonded carrier charges, availability of chemical tests facilities at all Dry Ports and handling as well as collection charges and Sea Port charges for transshipped cargo at Dry Ports were a few more suggestions he put forward on the occasion.
Similarly, Chairman APTMA Punjab Abdul Rahim Nasir said the federal government should adopt measures to increase cotton production to 20 million bales per annum, make available PSF and other MMF at globally competitive prices, and restore sales tax zero-rating for export-oriented sectors.
He said the government should also ensure LTFF facility for the entire value chain including indirect exporters and infrastructure, temporary importation schemes for the entire value chain and formation of Specialized Economic Zones (SEZs) and Textile Cities to accelerate exports.
He also urged the visiting minister to take up the industry issues like reduction of minimum Turnover Tax from 1.5% to 0.5%, skill development and training, diversification of products and markets, special initiatives for revival of closed mills, expeditious payment of tax refunds and duty drawbacks and approval of Textile Policy in the Cabinet.
On the energy front, Chairman APTMA said the government should also ensure all-inclusive electricity tariff @ 7.5 cents/kWh and gas at US$ 6.5/MMBTU for next five years continuation of gas supply to CPPs of the export-oriented sectors beyond March 15, 2021.— PRESS RELEASE