In a major relaxation, the government has allowed the release of vehicles imported by overseas Pakistanis as they have been stuck at ports since January 2021.

According to the Commerce Division, the government has allowed the overseas Pakistanis to import up to five-year-old used vehicles under the residence and gift schemes in accordance with the eligibility criteria, conditions and laid-down import procedure.

Earlier, the overseas Pakistanis had approached the Ministry of Commerce, seeking a one-off relief following delay in arrival of imported cars of 2017 model due to late departure of vessels in the wake of Covid-related restrictions on movement.

Based on these facts, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, in a decision taken on May 21, 2021, condoned the delay in shipment of vehicles.

Subsequently, the federal cabinet ratified the ECC’s decision in June 2021. The cabinet’s decision came into effect on June 18, 2021. Some overseas Pakistanis approached the Ministry of Commerce again, this time for the grant of one-time waiver on age limit of their imported vehicles, which had been stuck at ports since January 2021.

These vehicles could not be cleared because they exceeded the permissible age limit by a few days, which was caused mainly by the delay in shipment due to Covid-related curbs. The commerce ministry pointed out in a cabinet meeting on January 18 that the vehicles could have been cleared, had they been imported by December 3, 2020.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also supported the plea that schedules/ voyages of cargo vessels had been affected badly by the prevailing Covid-19 situation globally.

Therefore, in order to facilitate the overseas Pakistanis, the commerce ministry proposed that a general relaxation may be given up to January 10, 2021 for the clearance of imported vehicles, which may have exceeded the permissible age limit up to 10 days and had been awaiting customs clearance. The commerce ministry revealed that it had shared a draft summary with the FBR for its views and comments. In terms of Paragraph 20 of the IPO 2020, the federal government was empowered to allow imports in relaxation of prohibitions or restrictions contained in the IPO.

In view of this, the commerce ministry sought approval of the cabinet to allow a one-time exemption to the overseas Pakistanis whose vehicles had been imported and stuck at ports. The cabinet considered the summary titled “Vehicles Imported by Overseas Pakistanis”, submitted by the Commerce Division, and approved the proposal of clearing the vehicles standing at ports.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2022.

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