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Import ban only extends to luxury, non-essential goods: Miftah

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Sunday said the government has not issued a ban on any industrial raw material, adding that the ban only extends to luxury and non-essential goods.

In a tweet, the finance minister attempted to clarify claims made by a citizen that the import bans include raw materials used to make sanitary pads.

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“One of the two companies producing these pads (that account for 84% of sanitary napkins produced locally) has warned they may eventually have to shut down without the raw materials needed to make the pads,” wrote the social media user.

In a series of sub-tweets, the citizen voiced concern over the danger to women’s reproductive healthcare.

Taking notice of the issue, MNA Shaza Fatima Khawaja responded to the claims, saying, “I’m looking into this.”

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The MNA said she took the matter up with finance minister, who clarified that there was no ban on imports of raw materials. The minister added, “There is certainly no ban on sanitary pads or diapers (or their raw materials), which are obviously essential goods.”

The minister stated that the government will issue further clarification on the import ban, which has been subject to controversy.

It is pertinent to mention that on May 18, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave the go-ahead to a temporary ban on the imports of around three-dozen goods — essential and luxury items — but refused to slap regulatory duties to curb imports.

As a result, representatives of different importers, distributors and retailer organisations expressed concern over the ban on imports and called on the government to introduce a fuel management plan.

The ban also prompted protests from pet owners, veterinarians, retailers, and importers against the ban on import of pet food and asked the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the situation.

On Saturday, the federal government revoked the import ban on certain items — including pet food and energy savers, the Ministry of Commerce said.

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