The government has given an extension to the National Tariff Commission (NTC) chairperson for one year keeping in view the services rendered by her.
Recently, the cabinet approved a summary submitted by the Commerce Division, which recommended that the chairperson may be given a one-year extension.
Robina Ather settled hundreds of cases successfully that earned her a good reputation among the business community.
The Commerce Division had informed the cabinet that the NTC was initially established through the National Tariff Commission Act 1990 and it was placed under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce.
Since 1995, the primary role of the NTC had been to implement trade defence laws, ie those dealing with anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties as well as safeguard duties to protect Pakistan’s trade interests.
The global growth of protectionism and its impact on Pakistan’s trade compelled the Ministry of Commerce to make necessary amendments in the NTC laws so as to make them more effective for ensuring fair trading conditions for Pakistan.
Accordingly, a modified legislation was placed before parliament, which was approved in the form of National Tariff Commission Act 2015.
As per Section 4 of the Act, the NTC comprises five members, which are appointed by the federal government. The federal government also appoints one of the members as the NTC chairman.
Accordingly, the following persons were appointed as members of NTC vide notification dated August 9, 2016: Robina Ather, Abdul Khaliq and Tipu Sultan.
Ather was later appointed NTC chairperson on December 11, 2019.
In terms of Section 7(1) of the NTC Act 2015, the chairperson and members shall hold office for a period of five years, extendable by one year unless the federal government directs otherwise.
The allocated five-year term of the above three persons was due to be completed on April 9, 2021.
Owing to the upper age limit bar as per the Cabinet Division’s letter issued on October 9, 2007, Khaliq and Sultan were not eligible for a one-year extension to their term as NTC members.
Only Ather qualified for a one-year extension in terms of Section 7(1) of the NTC Act 2015.
It was informed that Ather was currently heading the NTC, which was responsible for the implementation of trade remedy laws and formulation of the National Tariff Policy.
During her tenure as the chairperson, the NTC investigated 18 anti-dumping cases. She also played an important role in the formulation of National Tariff Policy and the tariff rationalisation efforts undertaken by the NTC in the last two and a half years resulted in a reduction in duties on 4,000 inputs of industrial use.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2021.