Businessmen dealing in bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan while mentioning noticeable decline in trade volume and Afghan Transit Trade have demanded resolution of problems faced by trading community from both sides of the border on urgent basis.
If the demands of businessmen were not given due heed, the problems will aggravate and cause drastic decline in commerce and trade in the region, they warned.
These views were expressed by businessmen from Pakistan and Afghanistan during their meeting at border point of Torkhem in the conference room of Customs Department.
According to a press statement issued here on Friday, the meeting was held under the directives of Collector Customs Appraisement Peshawar, Muhammad Ashfaq and chaired by Additional Collector Appraisement Torkhem, Muhammad Rizwan.
The objective behind holding of this meeting at border point is to arrange discussion of businessmen from both the countries along with government officials for resolution of problem and for removal of hindrances in bilateral trade.
Those who attended the meeting included Director Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, SVP PAJCCI, Khalid Shezad, Former President SCCI, Faiz Muhammad Faizi, Superintendent Torkhem, Haleem Ullah, President Transport Torkhem, Haji Azeemullah.
From Afghanistan side, the meeting was attended by Director Gumrag Torkhem, Engr Muslim Khaksar, Qari Abdul Samad, Qari Zahid, Haji Asmat Ullah, Maulvi Muhammad Yasir, Haji Ziaullah and others.
Speaking on the occasion, Zia Sarhadi mentioned different problems being faced by business community of Pakistan.
He said majority of the truck carrying goods to Afghanistan are detained there along with empty containers at Khawar area of Maidan in Jalalabad.
According to estimates, Zia continued, more than 2500 to 3000 trucks and containers are still parked in Khawar Maidan area as a result of which the rent of a truck which was around Rs. 150,000 for carrying of goods from Karachi to Jalalabad has been increased to Rs. 5,20,000.
Similarly the shipping companies are charging an amount of US dollar 120 on daily basis over delay in return of the container, inflicting huge losses on business community. He demanded forthwith return of all the trucks that have been detained in Jalalabad.
The participants of the meeting also held discussion over pendency of Transit Documentation (T-1) of those trucks which carry goods to Afghanistan. They observed that T-1 of more than 30 to 40 thousand of trucks is pending and causing slowdown of clearance process.
Assistant Director, Iqra Shaukat on this occasion gave a briefing to Afghan officials on T-1 system and apprised them about its updating in their system.
The businessmen also pointed that due to checking of goods by different departments apart from Frontier Corps and NLC is causing extra time in clearance of goods and create a lot of problems for business community.
The clearance process at Karachi port has also been slowed down while cross stuffing of goods is not started despite issuance of notification in this regard, they added.
Additional Collector Appraisement, Muhammad Rizwan told the participants that Custom Department is fully aware of problems being faced by business community of both the countries which will be resolved through mutual consultation.
He expressed agreement with all the suggestions presented in the meeting and held out assurance of taking measures in this regard.