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ICCI shows great concerns over exclusion of edible oil from essential imports

Islamabad ( VOM ) The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has shown great concerns over the alleged reports that the commercial banks are resisting the opening of LCs of edible oil importers-cum-manufacturers as it would create shortage of ghee and cooking oil in the market and cause further hike in the prices of these commodities.

Faad Waheed, Acting President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that the State Bank of Pakistan vide its EPD Circular No.20 of 2022, dated 27th December 2022 had allowed the imports related to essential sectors such as food including wheat and edible oil, which was warmly welcomed by the business community of food sector. However, the commercial banks are now conveying to the importers-cum-manufacturers of edible oil that the edible oil has been excluded with immediate effect from the list of essential imports and hence banks are turning down their requests for opening of LCs/retirement of documents. He said that this situation is creating a panic like situation in the market.

ICCI Acting President said that almost 90% edible oil in the country is produced from imported oil seeds to meet the national needs of over 4.5 million M.Ton per annum. He said the existing domestic stocks can hardly meet the need of 3-4 weeks and it is essential to ensure unhindered opening of LCs/retirement of documents to avoid any shortage of this essential food item in the market. He said that the cooking oil industry is facing a unique kind of challenge as despite the discharge of sufficient stocks in custom-bonded warehouses at Karachi, the importers-cum-manufacturers are unable to lift them due to refusal by banks to retire the documents. This state of affairs is giving rise to negative market sentiments and drying up the supply-chain of staple food products of Ghee & Cooking Oil. He urged that SBP should immediately issue a clarification in the matter and direct the commercial banks to honor the LCs of the edible oil sector in order to save the common man from further inflation and the edible oil business community from further losses.