ISLAMABAD   -    Senate Standing Sub-Committee on Commerce was informed on Thursday that ban on the import of gold would be lifted after International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s bailout programme.

Meeting of the Sub-Committee of Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held here at Parliament House on Thursday with Senator Fida Muhammad in the chair. The meeting commenced with deliberations on the matter of gold import. Salman Hanif, chairman of Gem and Jewellery Association, apprised the committee that total consumption of gold in Pakistan is around 150 to 200 tons annually and irony is that there has been ban on the import of gold from last 10 years. He further stated that the Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had reduced the withholding tax from 5 to 1 percent but the ban of gold import has not been lifted.

Ahmed Mujtaba Memon, Special Secretary for Commerce, told the Senate body that State Bank has declared gold as luxury and non essential item and banned its import. He stated that State Bank doesn’t have required amount of foreign reserves to lift ban on the import of gold and it would be lifted after IMF bailout. Senator Anwar Ul Haq Kakar was of view that the loan is not a problem, the real problem is productive utilization of loan. USA has biggest loan against foreign reserves but they utilize these loans to manufacture productive items, he added. He further reiterated that gold industry has potential and ban on the import of gold should be lifted. Moreover, after the detailed deliberations, the committee directed the Gem and Jewellery Association to submit their suggestions to the committee for onward submission to Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The meeting was attended by Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Special Secretary for Ministry of Commerce Ahmed Mujtaba Memon, Chairman of Gem and Jewellery Association Salman Hanif and other concerned officers were also in attendance.