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PESHAWAR: A delegation of businessmen during a consultation with Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana here at Custom House Peshawar urged him for taking effective measures to curb smuggling instead of imposing restrictions on Pak-Afghan trade.

The delegation was jointly led by Coordinator Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Ziaul Haq Sarhadi and President Khyber Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Syed Jawad Hussain Kazmi, said a press release issued here on Saturday.

On this occasion, Chief Collector Customs KP, Saeed Akram, Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue Peshawar, Zafar Iqbal Khan, Member Inland Revenue FBR Islamabad, Mir Badshah Wazir, Collector Custom Enforcement, Khawaja Khurram Naeem, Collector Customs Appraisement, Amjadur Rehman, Director Transit Trade, Arbab Qaiser Hameed, Second Secretary Afghan Consulate Peshawar, Tahir Nafees, First Consul Consulate General Iran, Hussain Malki, Afghan Commercial Attache, Waheed Ullah, Director PAJCCI, Imtiaz Ahmad Ali.

The businessmen told Chairman FBR that through trade with Afghanistan, Pakistan can also get access to markets of Central Asian Republics (CARs) and imposition of ban on this important route would prove detrimental for the country’s economy in the longer run.

Speaking on the occasion, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi said the bone of contention in Pak-Afghan trade is smuggling which can be stopped effectively through increasing monitoring and vigilance at border points. While imposition of ban on trade with the objective of curbing smuggling is not a suitable approach and is proving detrimental in regard with expansion of commerce and trade at the regional level with scope of capturing CAR’s markets.

Sarhadi, who is also President Frontier Custom Clearing Agents Association, recalled a similar decision taken around 18 year earlier about imposition of ban on 17 items for trade with Afghanistan.

The decision caused a loss of Rs Three billion on annual basis to Pakistan Railways under the head of freight while all those banned items found ways to Afghanistan through flights from UAE and then penetrated into markets in Pakistan through smuggling.

The similar practice, he continued, was repeated on October 3, 2023 when the Ministry of Commerce through issuing SRO 1380 imposed a ban on 14 items which in detail became 212 different items of daily use. In the same way through another SRO 1387, 10 percent processing fee on transit cargo has been enforced besides imposition of 100 percent bank guarantee.

Earlier transit cargo was going under insurance guarantee and during the last 13 years around one million containers crossed Afghanistan from Pakistan smoothly, Zia continued.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman FBR, Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana apprised businessmen about measures being taken for provision of ease of doing business. He said the country is passing through a difficult phase and every individual has to play his role in bringing the economy out of this quagmire of slump. He said the government is giving due attention to stabilizing the economy and on promotion of commerce and trade and for this purpose all possible measures would be taken.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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