Business community of Quetta including importers/exporters have expressed satisfaction over the border management steps being taken by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed for speedy customs clearance of consignments and possibility of opening up new border points with Iran.
On the request of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Quetta president Fida Hussain Dashti, FBR chairman visited Pak-Iran border (Gabd/BP-250) and held an interactive session with the local trade community. The FBR chairman also visited Jiwani and discussed the possibility of opening Jiwani as an import/export port to and from the Iranian coastal town of Pasabandar. He was accompanied by the presidents of Quetta Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Gwadar Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
FBR chairman/secretary Revenue Division also visited Pak-Iran border (Gabd/BP-250) and held an interactive session with the local trade community. The traders lauded his visit as being the first-ever by any chairman of FBR at Gabd. Various issues pertaining to bilateral trade with Iran were discussed which included valuation of imported items through land route, establishment of banking channel with Iran, plant and animal quarantine certification issues on both sides, avenues for enhancing exports and development of infrastructure at border.
He assured the traders that all the matters pertaining to FBR will be resolved as early as possible. Moreover, he also promised to take up the issues with other ministries for easing out the difficulties faced by traders.
These meetings generated an important discussion regarding the pressing need for an effective border management. It was decided that FBR, as a lead agency, would carry out an exercise with some development partners to survey the whole borders to identify the possibility of opening up new border points for customs clearance. He further clarified that the Customs Border Stations will be classified into 3 categories, with each category having distinct features of infrastructure and administrative controls. The proposed exercise will be completed within 2 months, FBR chairman concluded.
Building further on government’s vision to promote trade with the regional partners and enhance border management, President Dr Arif Alvi chaired an important meeting of the relevant stakeholders and government institutions at Gawadar, on Friday. QCCI president Fida Hussain expressed satisfaction over the border management meeting and requested the concerned authorities to ensure implementation of measures as decided in the meeting presided over by the President Dr Arif Alvi.
The active participation of the Quetta chamber officials in the high level meeting clearly reflects government commitment in promoting documented trade with neighbouring countries. The government is committed to promote bilateral trade and further improve the business environment in Balochistan. The proper border management is necessary for promoting legal trade with Iran and Afghanistan. The bilateral trade with neighbouring countries cannot be enhanced without timely border management steps. Keeping in view the specific geo-political situation of Balochistan, the government needs to pay special attention to the trader’s issues being faced by the business community of this province, Fida Hussain added.
This report was first published in Business Recorder on Jan 24, 2022.