LAHORE- Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman Dr Muhammad Arshad has urged the authorities concerned to build at least two or three more gateways on Pakistan-Afghanistan border to ensure smooth trade transit.

In an exclusive talk with APP here Sunday, he cited that a number of small and medium traders have to face many problems due to slow process of custom clearance and others at the existing and operational corridors at the border. Lack of infrastructure and other facilities to ensure speedy transit of trading goods not only causes long queues of trucks at the Durand Line but also a great trouble for the businessmen trading in perishable goods including fruit, vegetables and other food items. To a question, the FPCCI Regional Chairman said that government should focus on resolving these grave problems of trade community by ensuring provision of proper infrastructures and other related measures at the existing Pak-Afghan corridors. He was of the view that improved facilities at the borders would also help bring ease of doing business particularly in agriculture sector. Dr Muhammad Arshad apprehended that people associated with agri business would have to bear colossal losses due to decaying of their food consignments to and from Pakistan and Afghanistan, if governments did not pay heed to resolve their problems at the border gateways.

To another question, he called for putting in place a speedy and accurate mechanism for checking and weighing process at the gateways, adding that such facilities were of immense importance in the present era of digitalization.

Responding to yet another question, he suggested that opening up of two to three more corridors for trade at Pakistan-Afghanistan border would also help in mitigating traders’ problems substantially. Dr Arshad acknowledged that the government had performed very well while fighting against global pandemic that crippled even the developed economies of the world. Effective, timely and well-conceived strategies of the government against COVID-19 brought the nation to a safe zone. Lauded the government’s efforts for economic revival, he said that opening up of construction industry and provision of financial relief packages was a great step and it would definitely help bring economic stability in the country and ensure its speedy development.

Regarding provision of financial relief under Ehsaas Kafalat Programme during earlier wave of COVID-19, he termed it the best financial aid programme for the vulnerable segments of the society. He urged the government to restart this sacred initiative for another three month besides enhancing the financial aid up to Rs 15,000 for each poor and needy family.