Karachi, June 07, 2022: In a follow-up meeting with the Afghan Inter-ministerial coordination cell (AICC), PAJCCI remarked that things are moving in right direction and multitude of issues are being resolved by relevant government entities under effective coordination of Special Adviser to Prime Minister (SAPM), Mohammad Sadiq.
Meeting was attended by Faiza Zubair, Secretary General PAJCCI, representative of Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FBR and State Bank of Pakistan to deliberate and resolve several ongoing issues highlighted by PAJCCI.
The Chair in order for smooth clearance of perishable imports from Afghanistan (as it is season also) instructed to enhance increase in capacity from 682 to 900 containers per day to avoid the rotting of fruits especially at Torkham due to unbearable heat.
FBR updated that PAJCCI’s recommendation to constitute Border liasion committee at Chaman on similar lines that exists in Torkham is well taken and will be operational within this week. Chair asked State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to ensure that E-Form & EIF must be easily available at all Baluchistan crossings. SBP highlighted that there exists an awareness issue which shall be jointly addressed and now financial instruments are also available via Pakistan Single Window website hence business community shall not face issues.
On pending notifications; TAD notification is in final stages and is expected to be notified by 10th June 2022, existing TAD will remain valid for further 30 days for smooth transition to new rules, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in process to notify Transport Attaché and highlighted certain conditions needs to be fulfilled by Afghan side as well. For cross stuffing ground work is completed, the space is allocated for off dock terminals and load management and notification in this regard will be issued within this month after final inter ministerial deliberations expected next week.
The extension of further waiver of E-Form and EIF is also expected to be issued prior to its expiry on 30th June 2022 keeping in view that barter agreement will take its time. However it was agreed that during joint deliberations to be held on 9th June in Islamabad organized by PAJCCI shall have matrix of deadlines for barter mechanism so that its operationalization can be expedited.
PAJCCI will further identify more items to be added in PKR trading category that is not burdening the import bill, now even coal is being traded in PKR which is big saver of foreign currency and important for Pakistan’s energy needs.
On third party payment processing SBP will issue written process document & create awareness campaign in regards to approved process and documentation which will reduce the problems faced by business community. PAJCCI will also undertake communication drive to create necessary awareness using its platform. Bank counters at Torkham and Quetta is now also accepting USD on counters however money exchange companies cannot be allowed to conduct business transactions due to FATF considerations.
Opening of Nawapass for Swat business community was supported; however, it was informed that weigh bridge and staff of all relevant entities is required to make this operational. Timings at Kharlachi have been extended by Pakistan side however Afghan side needs to take necessary measures on their side.
On the matters of joint venture and investments, TDAP has now online portal and information will be provided to PAJCCI for onwards awareness creation.
On mattes related to Barter Trade mechanism the current draft needs to be finalized after PAJCCI’s upcoming Focus Group Discussion meeting this week covering both sides and it must be implemented in 90 days; further delays will result in low economic activity however this is tied to issuance of SRO to address sales tax refund and duty draw back claims being not processed in case of land route trade and PKR trading.
It was jointly agreed that barter trade mechanism development must be fast tracked to further avoid unnecessary extension of E-Form & EIF waiver as a tool to avoid documented economy.
The house was also informed that almost 300,000 Afghan nationals were vaccinated at borders for Corona and this program will continue to provide health care support to Afghanistan. PAJCCI also recommended to vaccinate Afghan Children with Polio vaccine to actively curb this menace from both countries.
The Chair thanked PAJCCI for their rigorous follow ups and solution-based recommendations for issue resolutions and issued necessary instructions to hold a meeting next week with Ministry of Commerce & FBR to update the progress of actions and decisions.
Zubair Motiwala; Chairman PAJCCI thanked Mohammad Sadiq for his continued support in resolving the issues being faced by business community and termed him as the ambassador of strong regional economic integration.