Pak­istan to en­hance trade with Afghanistan, CARs

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Pak­istan govern­ment is con­struct­ing a mega state-of-the-art Bor­der Cus­toms Com­plex at Torkhem to en­hance re­gional trade with Afghanistan and Cen­tral Asian Re­publics (CARs). "The com­plex is the first of its kind in the coun­try, which will make bor­der cross­ing sys­tem­atic, fully com­put­er­ized and aug­ment the trade vol­ume on the his­toric route,"Col­lec­tor Cus­toms, Pe­shawar Qur­ban Ali Khan told APP on Tues­day. The state-of-the-art bor­der cus­toms com­plex would im­prove fa­cil­i­ties re­lated to clear­ance of goods laden trucks cross­ing bor­der to Afghanistan and CARs, he added The com­plex cov­er­ing 700 kanals land would house cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion of­fices, two-way cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion ter­mi­nals, check­ing and scan­ning plazas for pedes­tri­ans, pas­sen­ger and cargo ve­hi­cles with other in­fra­struc­ture," Qur­ban Ali said.

"Bor­der Cus­toms Com­plex is a step to­wards achieve­ment of goals set un­der CAREC (Cen­tral Asia Re­gional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion), a part­ner­ship of 10 coun­tries and six mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment part­ners work­ing to pro­mote de­vel­op­ment through co­op­er­a­tion, lead­ing to ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic growth and poverty re­duc­tion," he said. The Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) was pro­vid­ing 300 mil­lion dol­lars loan for ex­e­cu­tion of the pro­ject on soft term ba­sis to Pak­istan while Na­tional Lo­gis­tic Cell (NLC) was im­ple­ment­ing the pro­ject.

The pro­ject also in­cludes con­struc­tion of a sim­i­lar bor­der com­plex at Wagha post on PakIn­dia bor­der and at Chaman in Balochis­tan, he said and added that presently work on Torkhem had been started. Presently he said NLC had ac­quired 700 kanals of land in Torkhem and soon work on con­struc­tion of Cus­toms Com­plex would start. Presently, he said, check­ing and clear­ing process at Torkhem was cum­ber­some due to lack of fa­cil­i­ties and goods trucks took around 24 hours to cross the bor­der to­wards Afghanistan. Af­ter con­struc­tion of Cus­toms Com­plex, the clear­ance time of goods ve­hi­cle will re­duce from 24 hours to an hour only, he added. Sim­i­larly, ad­vance scan­ners would also help in plug­ging the men­ace of smug­gling as in the pre­vail­ing sys­tem of goods clear­ance, it was im­pos­si­ble for cus­toms of­fi­cials to fully check heavy ve­hi­cles. Col­lec­tor Cus­toms Pe­shawar said that due to im­prove­ment in sys­tem like com­put­er­i­za­tion of of­fi­cial record, the rev­enue col­lec­tion as cus­toms duty had shown a re­mark­able in­crease of Rs 1102 mil­lion (110 mil­lion dol­lars) in the last six months of 2015, from June to De­cem­ber. This in­crease in rev­enue col­lec­tion was re­sult of en­hanced trade and af­ter in­stal­la­tion of mod­ern sys­tem, the trade would flour­ish fur­ther. "About 20 years ago in Cus­toms depart­ment there was only one Col­lec­tor for whole Khy­ber Pakhtunkwa, FATA and Gil­git Baltistan, but now there are around 1000 of­fi­cials in the whole prov­ince," said Qur­ban Ali. Re­cently the Cus­toms Col­lec­torate had also de­puted As­sis­tant Col­lec­tor at Parachi­nar (Kur­ram Agency) from where around 600 trucks are cross­ing bor­der from Parachi­nar to Afghanistan on daily ba­sis and sim­i­larly trucks are com­ing here loaded with goods in­clud­ing fresh fruit and other items, he con­tin­ued. "The pro­ject can prove to be a game changer for busi­ness com­mu­nity of Pak­istan in gen­eral and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa in par­tic­u­lar,"opined Zul­fiqar Ali, Pres­i­dent Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (KPCCI).

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