Due to non-availability of foreign exchange, many industries are fearful of closure, the crisis of shortage of raw materials has further intensified in industries across the country. If serious efforts are not made to resolve the issue of Letter of Credits (LCs) opening immediately, many industries will be shut down on immediate bases. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has already asked the banks for opening of LCs on priority basis for the import of essential products and especially of raw material, input goods and spare parts, by the export-oriented industries. However, industries and exporters have claimed that they are still facing difficulties in opening LCs for the import of raw material.
The restriction on LCs has also forced the traders to protest on the roads for their demands. A number of leading industries are also likely to suspend their operations in January and February 2023 due to unavailability of raw material, resulting in lay off of thousands of workers. The State Bank, on December 28, 2022, has already withdrawn restrictions of prior permission on import transactions and directed the banks to prioritize/facilitate imports related to essential items, energy, agriculture inputs, imports by export-oriented industry, and imports on deferred payment basis.