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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Communications (MoC) is all set to give final touches to the National Freight and Logistic Policy (NFLP) aimed at ensuring the transportation of goods domestically and internationally at competitive rates, official sources told Business Recorder. Freight and logistics sector is the key enabler of trade and industry that connects businesses with national and international markets. However, Pakistan is performing poorly in Logistics Performance Index, ranking 122nd in 160 nations. This is owing to the fact that the logistics sector in Pakistan is highly fragmented and is in dire need of modernization, and other associated issues.

To complement government's investments in the transport sector, and to improve its efficiency, competitiveness, and ease of doing business in Pakistan, Ministry of Communications initiated preparation of National Freight and Logistics Policy NFLP which will help the country's freight and logistics system in meeting the demand for goods transport and associated supply chains at competitive prices and adequate service levels.

The interventions proposed in various policy areas will benefit in the following ways: (i) provide framework to integrate and optimize various elements of logistics value chain to ensure seamless multimodal growth of an efficient freight transport and logistics sector; (ii) facilitate, modernize and reform the freight and logistics sector; (iii) enhance the competitiveness of the country, promoting local value chains and streamlining cross-border and global supply chains; (iv) Improve the level of multimodal transport by updating the legal and regulatory regime to safeguard and harmonize the interests of multiple stakeholders in line with the global standards, industry norms and international conventions; and (v) Help in tapping the available potential to expand the overland trade with Pakistan's neighbors and within the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

According to sources, the proposed policy document was deliberated during a National Conference and finalized through a Steering Committee meeting. It has been duly vetted by all relevant Ministries/Divisions of the Federal Government, Provincial/ Regional Governments, and the private sector.

A dedicated Secretariat in the Ministry of Communications will lead the implementation of the policy through designated actions to be performed by federal ministries/divisions and all provincial government departments as defined in the policy document.

Cabinet Division, on Dec 23, 2020, directed Ministry of Communications to place the summary before ECC in the first instance prior to submitting it to the Cabinet.

The sources said when the proposal was placed before the ECC in Jan for approval, ECC chairman Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh deferred consideration on the policy till the next meeting, directing Ministry of Communications to engage in a comprehensive consultation process with key stakeholders.

Following the instructions of the ECC the ministry has started consultation with the stakeholders to finalize it by next week.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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