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KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Zubair Motiwala has said that there should be a cross border liaison committee at Chaman on the same lines as in Torkham for settling real-time issues. He lauded initiative of Chaman business community that despite limitations they have constructed another gate on self-help basis at the border for separating In and Out movements, ensuring expedited movement.

He said this during a stakeholder meeting held in Quetta as part of continued engagement of business community and government functionaries on both sides of the border.

According to information received here, PAJCCI has successfully recommended various practical and sustainable measures duly accepted and implemented to enhance trading activities and increase revenue for both governments.

Motiwala said that multiple trading Balochistan borders must be connected and opened with Afghanistan to reduce congestion, save time and cost while providing revenue to government and employment to local populace. He further urged DG Transit Trade to expedite the permission to carry out cross-stuffing and de-stuffing to reduce cost of doing business, as was committed in last stakeholder meeting at Karachi.

He reiterated that in absence of E-form, business community is facing significant issues in obtaining Sales Tax refund and duty drawbacks and urged FBR to consider facilitation in this context as trade by land route will further enhance in barter trade scenario, and due to such delays Pakistani exports become uncompetitive in the Afghan market.

He requested that barter mechanism will need time to evolve and its TORs need to be carefully devised; hence, the waiver of EIF and E-form must be ensured for six more months, giving ample time for committees across the border to conduct deliberations in this context.

Niaz Muhammad, SVP PAJCCI briefed the house regarding PAJCCI’s positive interventions leading to betterment of trade and transit across the border especially in these desperate times. Due to sustained PAJCCI efforts movement of goods has greatly improved and is progressing smoothly; however, 24/7 operationalization of border as committed is yet awaited.

He stated that businesses are asked to bring US dollars from Afghanistan for payment which is impossible due to dearth of foreign exchange aggravated by absence of proper cash counters at border leading to security challenges.

He specified that due to non-competitive tariff regime dry fruits from Afghanistan reach via parallel regime or during transit to India which is offering extremely low rates. FBR is urged to rationalize tariff for facilitating business community and increasing benefit to national exchequer.

He strongly urged that the government should keep Zubair Motiwala, Chairman PAJCCI in close loop for ensuring immediate resolution of issues and enhancing confidence building measures.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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