‘Increase in Pak-Afghan trade imperative for regional prosperity’

NA speaker directs SBP to establish bank branches at Angoor Adda and Ghulam Khan borders for facilitation of traders

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said on Wednesday that an increase in trade volume with Afghanistan would ensure prosperity in the region.

He was chairing a meeting of the Executive Committee of Pakistan Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group to review the implementation on decisions regarding Pak-Afghan trade and visa operations.

The speaker said that promotion of exports to Afghanistan is imperative for economic stability and development of Pakistan, adding that Afghanistan, by virtue of its location, is a favourable export destination for Pakistan.

He stressed the implementation of the recommendations of the Executive Committee of Pak-Afghan Friendship Group to fully realize the export potential of the country.

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The speaker appreciated the performance of the FBR and Customs regarding container clearance on Torkham and Chaman borders, directing the FBR to ensure clearance of containers of Afghan Transit Trade within a week.

He also directed representatives of the State Bank of Pakistan to ensure establishment of bank branches at Angoor Adda and Ghulam Khan borders for facilitation of the traders.

The National Logistic Cell representative informed the committee that container clearance had reached an average of up to 1,870 per day due to deployment of extra personnel and speedy clearance of Afghanistan-bound containers. He said that clearance would be enhanced up to 2,000 containers per day.

Meanwhile, the SBP representative informed that the Bank of Khyber and National Bank of Pakistan would establish banks within stipulated time.

He commended the approval of the cabinet for visa liberalization policy for Afghan nationals on recommendation of this committee.

Inquiring about the implementation of the matter related to off-loading of import containers at Miran Shah instead of Ghulam Khan and deployment of the Federal Investigation Agency personnel at Ghulam Khan, Angoor Adda and Kharlachi, the speaker directed interior ministry secretary to immediately assess the ground situation and submit a report at the earliest to facilitate the Afghan transit traders.

Reviewing progress on the issue of waving off demurrage and detention charges for the Afghan Transit Trade containers, the committee recommended unanimously to forward this matter to the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet.

The committee also unanimously recommended bringing a legislative bill in the matter of waiving demurrage issues.

Members of National Assembly (MNAs) Mohsin Dawar and Shandana Gulzar Khan suggested on ground visit of Torkham, Chaman and Angoor Adda besides giving retrospective legislation in the matter of waiving of demurrage.

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