Practical work on construction of a Rs. 112 billion mega state of the art Border Custom Complex at Torkhem to enhance regional trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) has been started.
This was disclosed by Collector Customs Peshawar, Qurban Ali Khan while talking to businessmen of KP during his visit to Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, Qurban Ali said the Project Management Unit (PMU), constituted for execution of the project, has opened its office in Islamabad and Peshawar to kick start implementation work. The stipulated period for completion of the project is two years, he added.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing dollar 300 million loan for execution of the project on soft term basis to Pakistan,” he told the businessmen.
The project also include construction of similar border complexs at Wagha post on Pak-India border and at Chaman in Baluchistan, he said and added that presently work on Torkhem is started.
“The state-of-the-art border complex is being constructed at Torkham to improve facilities related to clearance of goods laden trucks crossing border to Afghanistan and CARs,”.
The complex covering 700 kanals land would comprise custom and immigration offices, two-way Ccustom and immigration terminals, checking and scanning plazas for pedestrians, passenger and cargo vehicles with other infrastructure, Qurban Ali added.
Collector Customs says, the complex would be the first of its kind in the country, which would make border crossing systematic, fully computerized and augment the trade volume on the historic route.
Border Custom Complex is a step towards achievement of goals set under CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation), a partnership of 10 countries and six multilateral development partners working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction, he continued.
He also disclosed that Pakistan has signed International Transit Trade Agreement which allows transportation of goods by citizens from member countries of the agreement to take their goods any where through Pakistan.
The member countries of this International Transit Trade Agreement are around 60 to 70, he apprised SCCI members.
Collector Customs also dispelled the impression that there is a drastic decrease in bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said last year the export figure from only Torkham was around Rs. 126 billion. Whereas in the preceding year (2014-15), the trade figures are Rs. 130 billion.
The overall export from Pakistan to Afghanistan last year was dollar 1.2 billion and the figure of Afghan Transit Trade is dollar two billion, making the total figure to 3.2 billion dollar, Qurban Ali claimed.
In response to a question about establishment of Azakhel Dryport in Nowshera district, Collector Customs said work on the project is in progress and hopefully the dryport would be functional in the current calendar year.
While referring to the demand about payment of rebate, he held out assurance about payment of rebate to the tune of Rs. 30 million in the current year.—APP