SCCI demands withdrawal of SOPs at Torkhem border, July 25, 2020

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SCCI demands withdrawal of SOPs at Torkhem border, July 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD-Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has demanded of government to withdraw standard operating procedures (SOPs) at Torkham and remove hurdles in the way of Pak-Afghan mutual and transit trade.

The demand was made by SCCI Senior Vice President, Shahid Hussain during a meeting with Director General, Transit Trade Karachi, Raza Ahmad Khan, who met with traders’ delegation on request of the Frontier Customs Agents Association (FCAA) at the Model Customs House Peshawar. 

Besides, Director Transit Trade Peshawar, Amjad ul Rehman, Additional Directors, Jan Bahadur, Muhammad Tayyab, Deputy Director Inamullah Wazir, FCAA president, former SVP PAJCCI and SCCI, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, FCCA Senior Vice President, Chairman SCCI Standing Committee on Land Route, Imtiaz Ahmad Ali, Afghan Transit Trade Association General Secretary Farooq Ahmad and member of the TTA Fazal Shinwari were present in the meeting.  

While highlighting issues of customs clearing agents and business community, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi apprised the meeting that nearly 7,000 transit trade containers/trucks stuck due to slow clearing process at Karachi port, which was impacting negatively on Pak-Afghan bilateral and transit trade.

Whereas, he maintained heavy charges were being collected from traders and exporters on head of demurrage and detention at the Karachi port which further push the corona lockdown hit business community toward economic depression. He called for withdrawal of demurrage and detention charges immediately to ease the financial owes of the traders community.

Sarhadi said that following the directives of Federal Board of Revenue, 100 percent examination of transit trade containers was being carried out at Karachi port, while additional checking of goods trucks also conducted at Torkham border, which, he attributed, as a main reason behind the slowdown of the mutual and transit trade with Afghanistan.

FCCA president urged the authorities concerned to conduct only 5 per cent examination of containers at Karachi port to accelerate the bilateral and transit trade between the two neighboring countries. He also stressed the need of installation of more scanning machines at the Karachi port and signing agreement with multiple companies for the tracker system.

He stressed that the clearing and checking process of transit trade containers/trucks should be expedited at Karachi port and Torkham border.

Furthermore, he asked to allow empty trucks and containers stuck on the Afghanistan side to move to the Torkham border to their final destination Karachi in order to overcome the shortages issue at the port.

Sarhadi urged the federal government to withdraw SRO 121 and besides container cargo, the transportation of loose-cargo to Afghanistan would also be allowed, which can remove the monopoly of bonded carriers. He suggested the holding meeting of Pak-Afghan Joint Liaison Committee after two months.