The import of onions and tomatoes from neighbouring producers of the crop kicked off as a truck loaded with tomatoes entered Pakistan from Afghanistan through the Friendship Gate in Chaman.
The decision to import onions and tomatoes was made in light of the soaring prices and impending food crisis, after catastrophic floods across the country. Customs officials said that the Federal Board of Revenue has cut the levy and duty on the two items to zero.
However, the clearing association officials said that trucks carrying onions and tomatoes are waiting on the other side of the Friendship Gate and haven’t been allowed entry in Pakistan. The security officials said that they haven’t been directed to allow the trucks into Pakistan without the payment of taxes.
Speaking about the recent surge in food prices, economic analyst Khurram Schehzad said that the floods have so far caused up to $10 billion and “more is to come”.
“A hike in the inflation rate which was already witnessing an uptick was triggered by the floods,” he said, adding that the prices of basic food items like onions and tomatoes have gone up due to damaged crops.
Schehzad said that it will take the government 15-20 days to ascertain the total loss incurred.