Traders demand removal of bottlenecks hampering Pak-Afghan trade

PESHAWAR: The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has urged the government to take pragmatic steps to remove hurdles and problems in way of bilateral and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

SCCI President Engineer Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz on Monday issued a statement saying that the freight charged by various bonded carriers at Karachi port from exporters is up to Rs600,000 per cargo truck, which is alarmingly high.

The exporters have faced huge financial problems because of the bonded carriers’ monopoly and the policies have brought negative impact on the bilateral and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the SCCI chief noted.

He emphasized that the government and relevant authorities should take proactive steps and introduce business-friendly policies in order to create a favourable working atmosphere and to minimise the cost of doing business.

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Maqsood Pervaiz suggested that these steps are required to bring change in the proposed draft rule 328 regarding the license of the bonded carriers so that sensitivity and security of transit cargo is ensured under the necessary amendment in the relevant rule.

Furthermore, he proposed that the phenomenon of the bonded carriers be abolished in transit trade and the border agent shall be made responsible in the jurisdiction of each transit directorate to arrange a fleet as per their requirements through an insurance guarantee for the vehicles which may be enhanced with the provision of additional transport units suiting their changing demands.

Meanwhile, the chamber president condemned the reported incidents regarding harassment and unnecessary checking by police personnel at Zhira Checkpost of Pak-Afghan route and urged the provincial government, police high ups and other relevant authorities to take immediate notice of it.

“The mutual trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan is very low. If the policies cannot be reviewed, the Pak-Afghan mutual and transit trade would decline further,” Maqsood Pervaiz said. He called upon the federal government and its relevant subordinate institutions to take concrete steps to remove impediments in the way of the mutual trade and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

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