Pakistan to unveil new shipping policy next week

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved the new shipping policy, which would strengthen the shipping sector and benefit exporters, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi said on Saturday.

“I will hold a press conference next week to share the details of the new policy,” the minister said speaking at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), reported.

It may be recalled that ECC at an earlier meeting had approved the proposal of Ministry of Maritime Affairs to extend the existing tax incentives to the shipping sector from 2020-2030. Committee also advised the Ministries of Petroleum and Maritime Affairs to jointly come up with a comprehensive proposal for introducing a dynamic shipping policy focusing on expansion and development of local shipping industry.

Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI Junaid Makda said the federal government should take concrete measures to support shipping industry.

“Due to delayed deliveries, importers and exporters suffer losses. A vibrant shipping sector is a must for the betterment of economy, and government should take measures to improve ease of doing business for the sector,” Makda said.

With just 10 ships at present and that too only in the government sector, country has a miniscule shipping sector.

The existing “Pakistan Merchant Marine Policy-2001” gave incentives to ship owners by exempting all kinds of import duties till 2020 but this had no result.

According to experts, the reasons behind the stagnation are that the private sector is weary of poor government policies and lack of understanding of international shipping conventions by Pakistani authorities.

Inconsistency of polices, cumbersome procedures and the memory of 1974 nationalisation of private shipping companies are all factors that have contributed to the lack of growth.

The business community apprised the minister of the issues and problems facing Karachi and urged the government to live up to their promises. The meeting discussed the Karachi sanitation campaign in details, while Federal Minister Ali Zaidi announced to a form a committee with direct access to government authorities, which would help quick redressal of Karachi’s problems.

Edited by Kiran Khan

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