The government has released an amount of Rs76 million for the development of an Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS), being developed under the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Regional Improving Border Service Project.
The project envisages the establishment of state-of-the-art facilities at Wagah, Torkham and Chaman border crossing points, official sources said, adding that once completed, it would significantly reduce the processing time at crossing points.
The project is of great strategic importance both in terms of security and trade, they added.
The government had earmarked Rs480 million for the project under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fiscal year 2019-20, with foreign assistance of Rs100 million.
The total cost of the ITTMS project has been estimated at Rs31,62 billion, which includes a foreign exchange component of Rs26,04 billion.
The project was approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) in September 2015.
Experts believe Pakistan has great importance in the region owing to its unique geostrategic position and has the potential to become the most preferred corridor for trade in South and Central Asia.
However, due to very weak and almost rudimentary trade-related infrastructure, Pakistan had missed the opportunity to channel the trade from and to the landlocked neighbouring countries and other emerging economies of the world, including China and India, to become part of the massive global supply chain.
The ITTMS is being executed under Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation-Regional Improving Border Services (CAREC-RIBS).
According to sources, the project would help upgrade the infrastructure at border crossing points, in the context of CAREC Corridor for Trade, to support a modern supply chain.
“The project includes the development of one-window ICT-based systems and procedures,” they said. “The cargo movement from and to Karachi going upcountry for internal consumption within the country or for transit movement destined to exit from Chamman, Torkham and Wagha would be processed and routed through an integrated system to reduce dwell time for cargo clearance and onward dispatch.”
Sources said the project would also ensure a proper exit of outbound cargo, a check on the backward flow of goods, decrease in the incidences of smuggling for keeping, pave way for one-window operations at country and regional level as well as for the introduction of Authorized Economic Operators.