ISLAMABAD: The federal government allowed the export of textile masks on Thursday in a bid to allow manufacturers to comply with international orders. However, the export ban on N-95 and surgical masks, both included in the list of personal protective equipment (PPE), will remain.
The Ministry of National Health Services, which imports and exports medical goods and instruments abroad, sent a letter to the President of the Federal Revenue Board (FBR), Nausheen Amjad, to allow the export of cotton masks.
The decision was made at a meeting of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) of the National Coordination Committee on April 20. However, the government has not yet made a decision regarding the export of disinfectants.
Last week, trade adviser Razak Dawood announced that the government will also allow the export of disinfectants and masks to obtain foreign exchange for the country.
According to the letter from the national health ministry, the federal government has already imposed a ban on exports of N-95 and surgical masks.
"Instructions should be sent to interested departments allowing exports of cotton masks to avoid any difficulties faced by exporters," the letter said.
The letter was issued by the ministry to keep things clear. The Federal Research Agency is already investigating before the ministry's decision to allow mask exports from the country when the Covid-19 pandemic reached Pakistan.
Exports of health-related products are subject to the NOC of the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority.
Many countries have restricted exports of all goods used in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. However, in Pakistan decisions to allow or ban EPP exports have changed in recent weeks.
Currently, it is not possible to export washable cloth masks used for dust pollution purposes, as there is confusion in SROs of prohibited items.
He said that exporters of cotton masks should remain in contact with the RBA in case of any difficulties.
"The west is slowly opening up and orders are coming," said the adviser.
"I call on our textile industry to take full advantage of these new opportunities to enter new segments and a new geography. The federal government will extend support to exporters entirely," he added.
Posted in Dawn, April 24, 2020