Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD
The Steering Committee on Integrated Transit Trade Management Systems (ITTMS) on Wednesday approved broad contours of the Land Port Authority (LPA) which is to oversee all the cross border movement of goods and people.
The ITTMs meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz and other senior officials were also present. Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa gave a detailed presentation to the meeting about the ITTMS project which aims to make Pakistan a regional hub for transit trade in line with the vision of the Prime Minister. A number of measures are being taken to channelise the cross border trade activities under this project for which the proposed Land Port Authority (LPA) would play the role of a facilitator and regulator.
During the meeting it was decided that the LPA would be established through an executive order and its legal status would be confirmed later through an Act of Parliament. The land acquisition for the LPA at Torkham on the basis of 99 years renewable lease is already being undertaken.
The Chairman FBR briefed the meeting that ITTMS project had been included in FBR’s PSDP for FY 2014-15. FBR presented the PC-I in August, 2014 to the Planning Commission. Pre-CDWP meetings were also held in October, 2014. Based on the recommendations of the Planning Division, revised PC-1 has also been submitted. Technical Evaluation and Project Appraisal is completed and FBR has designated focal persons on-site, to liaise with local administrations, at Torkham, Chaman and Wahga.
Furthermore FBR, which is also the lead govt. body for the project, has conveyed concurrence to Country Operation Business Plan (COBP), project financing facility to ADB, through EAD. ADB, has committed $204 million for ITTMS Project, primarily through its own resources, or by including some other development partner. ADB Country Director Werner Leipach also addressed the meeting, giving an overview of the ADB’s financing plan for the project. ADB, it may be mentioned has mobilised its “Due Diligence team” for conducting socio-economic and environmental surveys for the project sites.
The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the project carried great significance to transform Pakistan into a regional trade hub and its early implementation should be a priority for all the departments and organisations engaged in it. He asked the Economic Affairs Division to coordinate with ADB to firm up details about its funding. He emphasised project implementation should be initiated by May this year.