Rapid clearance of trucks carrying tomatoes, onions stressed

Sunday, Sep 04, 2022

PESHAWAR: Torkham Border Management Committee has demanded expediting clearance of goods laden trucks such as tomatoes and onions, saying an ongoing construction work on NLC terminal had slowed down the clearance process.

In its 14th meeting held at Custom House in Torkham, the committee stressed on ensuring early clearance of the trucks while shedding light on effective measures for promotion of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a press release stated.

Additional Collector Customs Muhammad Tayyab chaired the meeting that was also attended by Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) vice president (VP) Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi and other officials. The Afghan side was represented by Commander Border Security Commander, Maulvi Khalid, the press release added.

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

Soon after the government decision, trucks started arriving from Afghanistan to Pakistan and because of long queue caused by a 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 Torkham from Peshawar, hundreds of trucks were witnessed parked on road sides in wait for clearance.

“The 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 also 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 Torkham border would be enhanced to 2000 per truck on daily basis.

He apprised participants of the meeting that provision of Afghan custom certificate and DG for trucks carrying fresh fruits to Pakistan was made mandatory as “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 fertiliser and sugar from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The meeting 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.