KARACHI: Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), has demanded that Chaman border should be reopened with immediate effect to allow exports to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. Chaman border has been shut down for more than a month now; unlike Torkham border, which continues to be operational, he added.

Maggo said that SMEs in Pakistan are already in unprecedented distress due to a plethora of adverse factors like COVID-19, depreciation of Pak Rupee, instability in the region, rising fuel & logistics’ costs and high-handedness of the taxation authorities. The minimum the government can do is to facilitate the traders where it is possible without much effort, he added.

Maggo observed that border trade accounts for 70% or above in most of the countries on the world; but, unfortunately, there has always been a lack of support and facilitation in Pakistan for border trade. Closure of Chaman border is only adding to the historical mess, he added.

However, Nasir Khan, VP FPCCI, demanded that the Government of Pakistan should consider reopening the Chaman border without any more delay to mitigate the losses to the importers and exporters dependent on the Chaman border for their trade with Afghanistan. He emphasized that the brotherly country also desperately needs supplies of basic food items from Pakistan to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Nasir Khan also pointed out that fresh fruits worth millions of dollars are being getting damaged on both sides of the border due to delays and causing food inflation as well; as Chaman border is the major trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Explaining the quantum of the losses to Pakistani traders, Nasir Khan said that the Pakistani exporters are suffering unsustainable losses of up to 100 million rupees per day.

FPCCI Chief proposed that Pakistan should aggressively fill the vacuum created in Afghanistan due to current circumstances and increase exports to Afghanistan proportionately and sustainable and compete with the other regional and other geographically contiguous countries. Historically speaking, Pakistani exporters have been suffering at the hands authorities for their inaction and delaying tactics; and, we should not miss the bus this time around, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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