PESHAWAR: President of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Faiz Mohammad said that owing to lack of facilities at Torkham border and repeated stranding of Pakistani containers on Afghan side of the border badly affecting the bilateral trade activities and it is need of the time that incumbent government address these issues to promote export of the country.
In exclusive interview with Custom Today Faiz Mohammad said that due to lack of interest and strong well of the government, there is huge trade deficit with Afghanistan as the neighboring country have switched over most of the trade activities toward Iran and Central Asian republics.
He said there is great difference between facilities at Wagah border and Torkham border as due to settle areas there are no barriers in the process of important export at eastern border while at Torkham border there are number impediments including lack of internet facilities and proper space for exporting containers.
He added that at Wagah border the WeBOC system is fully active and due to huge space and due to lack of rush the trade activities goes swiftly without any hindrance. He said that National Logistic Cell has also provided facilities at Wagha border and they are fully equipped with train staff to help the transporters on the border.
He said that still 3000 vehicles has been stranded in Afghanistan side and they said that the import until their safe fruits delivery to Afghanistan the returning containers of Pakistan from Afghanistan would not be allowed to cross the border.
To a question Faiz Mohammad said that NLC not fully cooperating with exporters on the border and instead of facilities they are creating hurdles for the exporters. He said that repeated strikes of Khyber residents against border authorities and NLC also creating hurdles for the exporters due to which their vehicles remained stranded at standstill situation on the border. He said that NLC taking 3500 rupees per containers and 2200 per truck on the border for sake of facilitation and crane facilities but these facilities were not sufficient to address the problems of the exporters.
He said that this NLC is also available at Sust border with China where it works smoothly to handle routine business between china and Pakistan. He said that all the borders are fully functional but problems lies at Torkham border due to lack of facilities on the border.
He mentioned that stopover at the border also cause expiry of perishable items and inflict heavy losses on exporters. He appealed government to provide all kind of facilities to smoothly continue the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It is pertinent to mentioned here that trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan declined from five billion dollars to $2.5 billion owing to frequent border clashes and new agreement of Pakistan Afghanistan transit trade.
He stressed the need for concrete steps to promote bilateral trade to strengthen each other economy. He said that Afghanistan and Pakistan government should jointly work to facilitate each other in larger national interest of both the countries.