Early clearance of trucks carrying tomatoes, onion demanded

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Effective measures stressed to promote trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan

A meeting of Torkhem Border Management Committee while laying stress on effective measures for promotion of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has demanded expediting clearance of goods laden trucks which has become slow due to work on NLC terminal.

According to a press release issued here on Friday, this was 14th meeting of the committee held at Custom House in Torkhem under the chairmanship of Additional Collector Customs, Muhammad Tayyab.

The meeting was attended by Vice President PAJCCI, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, Deputy Collector Appraisement, Amanat Khan, Assistant Director Transit, Amanullah Khan, AC Torkhem Miss Noor, Superintendent Customs Torkhem, Sadiq Akbar and Chairman Landroute Standing Committee of SCCI, Imtiaz Ahmad Ali.

The Afghan side was represented by Commander Border Security Commander, Maulvi Khalid, press release added.

Speaking on the occasion VP PAJCCI, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi said federal government has waived off duties and levies till December 31, 2022 on import of tomato and onion from Afghanistan and Iran with the objective of stabilizing prices of these commodities in the country which shots up after damage to crops due to massive flooding.

Soon after the government decision, trucks started arriving from Afghanistan to Pakistan and because of long queue caused by construction work for NLC terminal at Torkhem, clearance is getting a lot of time and can damage perishable items.

Zia demanded chalking out mechanism for early clearance of perishable items in the wake of federal government decision, otherwise people will not get the benefit for which the waiver is announced.

Apart from tomato and onion, hundreds of trucks laden with fresh fruit are standing in queue and waiting for clearance, putting hundreds of millions of investment at stake.

He also mentioned in the meeting that during his travel to Torkhem from Peshawar, hundreds of trucks were witnessed parked on road sides in wait for clearance.

This delay is not only inflicting losses to businessmen but also on public exchequer, Zia continued.

During the meeting it was also demanded from Afghan government to reduce taxes and duties on export of coal to Pakistan.

The representatives of Afghan government held out assurance of conveying the demand to relevant authorities.

The Afghan delegation thanked Pakistan authorities over increasing clearance of trucks from 500 on daily basis to 1200.

Speaking on the occasion, Additional Collector Customs, Muhammad Tayyab said soon clearance of vehicles on Torkhem border would be enhanced to 2000 per truck on daily basis.

In response to some questions, Muhamad Tayyab apprised participants of the meeting that provision of Afghan custom certificate and DG for trucks carrying fresh fruits to Pakistan is made mandatory because some businessmen are misusing relaxation in duties to Afghan products and sending fruits of neighbouring countries.

The delegation members from both the countries agreed to ensure ban on supply of fertilizer and sugar from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The meeting which ended in cordial atmosphere with a note of continuing the practice and even its replication in other border posts like Chaman, Kharlachi and Angoor Ada.

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