PESHAWAR: Pakistan-Afghanistan sharing border trade has increased 33 percent in addition with 36 percent revenue in import has been added to national exchequer.
It is worth mentioning here that last year Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Integrated Transit Trade Management scheme on 18th of September to keep open the Pak-Afghan sharing Torkham border, for 7/24 hours.
Sharing details Superintendent custom center at Torkham, Attur Rehman said that in the prevailed unfavorable condition, it was a tough job for the Federal Board of Revenue(FBR)to shape the 7/24 plan of the incumbent government, however with determination of the high officials of the department, practical shape was given to the scheme and started adding 33% increase in export while 45 percent enhancement had been noted in import in terms of foreign exchange and the government had earned 39% revenue in imports in last six months.
He maintained that in spite of lack of basic needs like electricity, potable water, gas etc. The custom officials executed their duties at Torkham border round the clock in three shifts.
The whole record in custom center, Torkham had been computerized to avoid any kind of irregularity and various branches of custom department had been functioned including establishment of directorate of preventive and enforcement to curb the smuggling at the border.
President Khyber Chamber of Commerce and Industry Col (r) Muhammad Sadeeq while commenting his views said that trade had slightly raised and 30%-35% improvement had noticed but it was just because of season perishable items like orange and vegetables otherwise no visible progress had made on nonperishable goods with implementation of round the clock opening of the border plan of the government.
“Until and unless all facilities including internet, electricity, efficient and dutiful staff of custom and other concern departments are not provided to Torkham, export will not be increased”, he remarked.
He added that that lack of coordination among the departments functioned in Torkham beside deficiency of more exit and entry points also considered a main hurdle that halted trade because of traffic mess that need to be addressed forthwith.
He urged the incumbent government to expedite the process and adopt standard operation procedure to enhance business at Torkham border.
Senior clearing agent Ablan Khan said that with implementing of 24 hours border opening plan six months ago added more to the export of the country and exporters of perishable items like fruit or vegetables benefited more from the plan because their merchandise commodities could cross the border anytime and could reach its destination without getting rotten.
Earlier 400 to 500 vehicles, loaded with export goods could be cleared and after the introducing of the 7/24 scheme at the border, 700 to 800 truck were cleared.
He blamed the National Logistic Cell (NLC) officials, deployed at the Torkham border for teasing the Afghan and local traders for one reason or another.
According to National Logistic Cell (NLC) official, in Torkham substantial improvement in trade had been witnessed due to excellent arrangements made by NLC at Torkham border terminal. He added that overall almost 20% increase had been made after the 7/24 scheme of the government had been functioned.
He further said that NLC was playing a role of facilitator to other government agencies like customs, NADRA, FIA and immigration etc. and the border terminal would further boost trade with Afghanistan and central Asian republics.
The Pakistan government has spent Rs1600 million to established immigration terminal plan.
According to the traders community in 2010-11 the trade volume via Torkham border was $3000 million annually that was reduced to $ 900 million per year in 2018.