In a major relief for industries and businesses, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tuesday notified its decision to withdraw the restrictions placed on imports with effect from January 2, 2023. “Attention of the authorised dealers (ADs) is invited to EPD Circular letter No.9 of May 20, 2022 and Circular letter No. 11 of July 5, 2022 wherein ADs were required to seek prior permission from Foreign Exchange Operations Department SBP-BSC before initiating any import transaction pertaining to HS Code Chapter 84, 85 and certain items of Chapter 87,” according to an official statement. “It has now been decided to withdraw the above instructions with effect from January 2, 2023. Consequently, requests for import transactions already submitted to SBP-BSC pertaining to above referred HS Codes stand returned to the ADs for appropriate disposal at their end.” However, the central bank said that dealers may prioritise or facilitate imports under essential imports, energy imports, imports by export-oriented industry, imports for agriculture inputs, deferred payment/self-funded imports and imports for export-oriented projects near completion.Imports related to essential sectors such as food (wheat, edible oil, etc) and pharmaceutical (raw material, life-saving/essential medicines, surgical instruments including stents). Imports related to petroleum group (oil and gas) and coal (for power projects based upon merit order of Ministry of Energy). Imports, especially of raw materials, input goods and spare parts that are used by export-oriented industries. Import of items required as inputs for agriculture such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. Import of plant and machinery for export-oriented projects near completion where at least 75% of the project’s plant and machinery has already been imported. The central bank further directed ADs to actively engage with all their customers to process their requests, keeping in view the customers’ risk profile and liquidity conditions prevailing in the foreign exchange market. It advised the authorised dealers to bring the above instructions to the notice of all their constituents.