Pakistan: Senate committee approves ban on raw mineral exports

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The Senate panel endorsed a ban on the export of both metallic and non-metallic minerals, including raw pink salt.

The approved Private Members Bill, presented by PTI Senators Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, and Senator Abdul Qadir, received majority approval of 5:1.

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Senator Nuzhat Sadiq proposed further deliberations, while Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan from PPPP supported the bill.

The bill prohibits the export of raw minerals, encompassing granite and marble, excluding those governed by G2G (Government-to-Government) pacts under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) framework.

The Commerce Ministry, represented by Additional Secretary Syed Hamid Ali, did not back the bill, asserting that existing regulations already empower the government to impose bans on specific items under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1950.

The approved bill outlines that the Federal Government can restrict the export of raw minerals, emphasizing the establishment of refineries in Pakistan and prescribing value additions for end products.

The Commerce Ministry contends that such a decision could convey a negative message to investors, including those like M/s Barrick Gold, who have invested in the country.

Commerce Ministry’s written response suggested dealing with the matter in Export Promotion Ordinance (EPO) rather than amending the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1950.

The ministry argued that the Act already grants authority to the Federal Government to regulate trade.

During the session, the committee also discussed the Private Members’ Imports and Exports (Control) Amendment Bill, 2023, with Deputy Chairman Senator Mirza Muhammad Khan Afridi expressing appreciation for the emphasis on value addition in exports.

The committee acknowledged the time-consuming nature of the process but highlighted its long-term benefits.