PESHAWAR: Provincial President of Frontier Customs Clearing Agents (FCCA), Ziaul Haq Sarhadi on Saturday rejected the customs officials claim regarding rise in Pak-Afghan trade due to the current high dollar rate and arrival of Afghanistan goods stuck due to corona pandemic in different countries, saying there has been no significant increase in bilateral trade between the two countries.
Taking to Profit and Pakistan Today, Sarhadi said there was contradiction in the data released by the customs officials.”Earlier, the number of transit vehicles was 300 cleared on a daily basis, which has now reduced to mere 30 to 35 vehicles at Torkham crossing point,” Sarhadi said, and added this was despite the fact six different departments were working on the border crossing.
He further said banking system in Afghanistan was disrupted since the end of Ashraf Ghani rule in August 2021 as a result traders were facing difficulties in opening LCs. Thus, there is no increase possible in trade under such circumstances. He said that before the merger of tribal districts with the province in 2018, the political administration was quick enough to clear trade vehicles as compared to the current administration as vehicles are unable to cross the border for several weeks due to legal complexities.
Shahid Hussain, senior vice president of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and industry (SCCI) told Profit that the volume of Pak-Afghan trade could be 1.5 billion and 2 billion dollars annually. He said it was 1000 million dollars when the Taliban came to power. Hussain said that there was no increase in trade in the last quarter but now only 28% hile in exports and 72% in imports have been recorded. It should be noted that the data was released by the customs to the media in which the customs officials claimed that there has been a record increase in the Pak-Afghan trade.
According to the customs officials, the volume of Pak-Afghan trade last year was only 160 million dollars, which has now increased to 320 million dollars. It should be noted that on November 18, Federal Board of Revenue had issued the notification of Model Airland Corridor under which Afghanistan will now be allowed to deliver goods by air. According to the notification, Pakistani airports will be opened for the Afghan transit trade goods under the modal Air Land Corridor. Afghan equipment arriving at Pakistani airports will be strictly monitored at the airports and delivery of arms, ammunition, prohibited chemicals will not be allowed.