Customs dept promises more facilities at Pak-Afghan border crossings

Thousands of empty containers on Afghan side of border not cleared, traders forced to pay an additional $150 per container per day

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Customs has assured that more facilities will be provided at the border crossings with Afghanistan to increase the export volume to the neighbouring country.

In this regard, Director Headquarters Customs, Habib Ahmed, said that Pak-Afghan trade issues including difficulties faced by traders, including issue of empty containers, clearing fresh fruit and dried fruit vehicles from Afghanistan will be resolved on a priority basis.

Ahmed said that traders of both countries should send their suggestions to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to alleviate the issues in the new All Pakistan Tenure Track Faculty Association (APTTA) agreement.
Habib Ahmed was chairing a meeting to discuss the growth of Pak-Afghan trade and the difficulties faced by traders at the border.  Traders and chamber officials from both countries attended.
Trader Khan Jan Alokzai briefed Customs officials that due to the current mechanism at the Torkham border, thousands of empty containers on the Afghan side have not been cleared, forcing traders to pay an additional $150 per container per day.
Alokozai added that due to difficulties at the border, Afghan traders have started importing from other countries instead of Pakistan. “Afghanistan needs 4,000 metric tonnes of coking oil and 10,000 metric tonnes of flour daily. If Pakistani authorities facilitate traders at the border crossing, it can boost exports to Afghanistan,” Alokzai said.
Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce (PAJCC) Vice President Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi said that most problems at Torkham border were caused by scanners installed by NLC that charge Rs3,500 per vehicle.
However, NLC officials told the meeting that there was no problem due to scanners and that the clearing process takes time due to a lack of space.
Shahid Hussain, a member of Board of Directors of the PAJCC, said that issues could be resolved if Pakistan opens Torkham, Chaman as well as other borders as well as providing facilities for traders.
He said empty containers should be allowed enter at all borders crossings.
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