KARACHI: President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda has urged the Ministry of Communications to put the recently implemented axle load regime on hold as it was not agreed upon by all the stakeholders including the goods transporters and representatives of the business & industrial community.
While referring to a meeting with Secretary Communications Shoaib Siddiqui during his visit to KCCI which was followed by another meeting held in Islamabad in which KCCI was represented by Chairman of Ports, Shipping & Multi-Modal Transportation Subcommittee Hassan Sheikh Vohra, President KCCI stated that although assurances were given that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be mutually decided in consultation with all stakeholders for the axle load regime but it was not done and the Regime has been individually finalized and implemented by the Ministry of Communications.
He said that during both these meetings all the stakeholders including KCCI rejected the axle load regime in which the consignment weight on trucks has been drastically reduced as it would surely raise the cost of doing business which was against the government’s policies towards the ease of doing business.
“If these trucks are running smoothly without any problem on the roads of Karachi and also on Mai Kolachi Road and ICI Bridge etc., why these trucks are not fit and safe for movement on Motorways across Pakistan”, President KCCI asked, adding that if a 40 feet container with weightage of up to 20 tons or more arrives at the port, it cannot be fragmented into pieces either within the port or outside as it can only be unpacked when it reaches the destination which could be in any part of the country.
He was of the opinion that the cost of doing business has risen sharply nowadays due to upsurge in dollar, imposition of Regulatory Duties and upward revision of utility tariffs.
He elaborated that the decision to reduce axle load means an industrialist, exporter or importer will now have to transit consignments in two trucks instead of one truck which is technically not possible and even if it is done somehow, it would raise the consignment’s cost, which will ultimately be borne by the masses who are already overburdened in the ongoing era of inflation.
He said, “It is really unfortunate that the government, which is in dire need of additional revenue, is following the same old strategy to further squeeze the existing taxpayers only and is not taking any steps to enhance country’s revenue from new sources. Additional and new taxes are being implemented on various sectors without realizing whether the relevant businesses actually have the capacity to pay such exorbitant taxes or not.”
Junaid Makda stressed that the Ministry of Communications must immediately put the axle load regime on hold and re-consult with all stakeholders so that they could come up with a mutually acceptable solution.
While expressing deep concerns over constitution of Monitoring Committee on Implementation of axle load control in which the Karachi Chamber has not been given representation, President KCCI stated that the immature politicians who are totally unaware of the ground realities were widely being misguided by the bureaucracy in almost all the ministries including the Ministry of Communications being led by Murad Saeed and it seems that the implementation of impractical Axle Load Regime was also part of the same.