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Coronavirus-related supplies to be exempted from taxes at ports: Ali Zaidi

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Thursday said that no taxes would be charged from life-saving items, masks and sanitizers at the ports as government  beefs up efforts to improve medical supplies needed to tackle coronavirus, ARY NEWS reported.

Talking to media, the federal minister said that they have improved the capacity at all ports to facilitate arrival of coronavirus-related medical supplies.

“We will also not receive any charges under port demurrage till April 15 from traders,” he said as coronavirus has caused a global fear.

Ali Zaidi said that they had already sent all daily-wage employees on holidays in the departments within the jurisdiction of his ministry and only essential staffers are called for duties.

“The ports and shipping ministry has already shifted to E-Systems and now they do not maintain any paperwork,” he said.

The minister said that he advised the prime minister against shutting down activities at ports during lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic as all essential food items including pulses and medical equipment arrive by port.

“Around 90 percent of the shipments come via ports and if it’s closed down then it could badly hurt our foreign reserves,” he said.

Read More: 50,000 COVID-19 testing kits to arrive tomorrow, says NDMA chairman

It is pertinent to mention here that on March 21,Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Friday announced a major relief on import of medical equipment and machines aimed at tackling the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

According to the FBR spokesman, the tax collection body issued three statutory regulatory orders (SROs) to announce a relief on the imports of virus-related medical equipment.

The tax authority announced to abolish sales tax, income tax, customs duty and regulatory duty for three months on import of the machinery and other material needed to tackle the spread of the virus.

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