PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Finance Minister has sent a summary to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan about releasing Rs8 million for providing more facilities at Torkham Customs Station and keeping it open for round the clock operations.
The KP government has decided to release funds to Torkham custom station to enhance trade activities and improve the quality of the customs station.
According to a summary sent by the finance department, a record revenue has been generated from imports and exports on the crossing, therefore, improving the quality of the customs station is essential to keep business running round the clock.
However, Shahid Hussain, senior vice-president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) was dissatisfied with KP government’s intentions regarding the improvement in facilities. He told Profit that such measures wouldn’t make sense unless the two sides facilitate export vehicles. “Pakistani officials had promised to build a parking lot for trade vehicles in the area between Landi Kotal and Peshawar but so far no practical steps have been taken in this regard,” Hussain said.
He further said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have to take serious steps to increase Pak-Afghan trade including rationalizing customs duty. He informed that last year the Pakistani authorities increased the customs duty on grapes imported from Afghanistan. In response, Kabul increased customs duty on Pakistani mangoes, causing severe hardship for Pakistani traders and exporters.
Husain urged the government to simplify the process of clearing export and import vehicles at Torkham crossing point. He said that the sooner the vehicles are cleared by both sides, the more Pak-Afghan trade will occur, increasing the revenue of both countries.
Last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the 24-hour opening of the Torkham border to further boost Pak-Afghan trade and create more employment opportunities. The government officials believe that if better trade facilities were provided at the Torkham border, Central Asian countries will also utilize this important trade route.