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PESHAWAR: Customs authorities have assured the traders attached with Pak-Afghan transit to take pragmatic steps to resolve their issues on priority basis and accelerate the goods’ clearance process at the various border check posts.

The assurance was given by Collector Customs (Appraisement), Ashfaq Ahmad during a stakeholders’ conference organized by Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), according to a press release issued here on Sunday.

Traders attached with Pak-Afghan transit trade participated in the meeting and they have pointed out obstacles in detail, which they faced in carrying out smooth trade.

Traders’ delegation from Pakistan was represented by Coordinator and Director PAJCCI Ziaul Haq Sarhadi and the Pak-Afghan joint chamber senior vice president Khalid Shehzad, while Dr Mukhalis was heading the Afghan traders’ delegation.

Apart from the collector customs (Appraisement), additional collector headquarters Afnan Khan and Assistant Collector Customs Station Torkham Yawar Hayat, Pak-Afghan traders and representatives of relevant stakeholders were also present.

Ashfaq Ahmad said customs authorities have initiated vigorous efforts to facilitate traders on both sides of the borders and resolve their issues on a fast-track basis to boost up bilateral trade between the two countries.

He; however, said any issue which won’t fall in domain, would also be taken up by the relevant departments, including State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Commerce, National Logistic Cell, Pakistan Railways, etc.

Pak-Afghan trade has been carried out for the last several decades, through which a large number of people of the two countries were taking benefits, the collector remarked.

The collector custom said the authorities are utilizing all available resources to maintain these old-traditions to bring economic prosperity and development to the whole region. The senior official said the customs department is focusing on provision of facilities to traders in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan along with other checkpoints at border regions.

He acknowledged that there are issues and difficulties that have been faced by traders owing to unavailability of internet, electricity, required number of gadgets for scanning of goods, coupled with lack of proper infrastructure, communication system and other facilities.

Ashfaq Ahmad, responding to a question raised by an Afghan trader regarding delay in clearance of goods, said that the process of procurement of the latest scanner has been initiated and physical checking will be stopped at Torkham border very shortly after which the process of goods clearance could be expedited.

The senior official asked the Pak-Afghan traders to take all relevant issues openly with customs authorities as they were available to them to facilitate trade between the countries.

Pak-Afghan traders on the occasion exchanged views regarding prospects of boosting of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and suggested a number of proposals to remove the obstacles that were hampering the mutual economic and trade ties between the two neighbouring countries.

Both sides during the stakeholders’ conference agreed to make joint efforts to remove all hurdles in the way of Pak-Afghan bilateral trade.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Director PAJCCI Ziaul Haq Sarhadi shed light on the purpose of the holding joint meeting of Pak-Afghan traders.

He hoped the joint meetings under aegis of PAJCCI would be helpful to address common issues of traders on both sides of the border by taking up them with relevant authorities in an efficient manner.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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