PESHAWAR: The businessmen of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have rejected the axle load management regime implemented by National Highways Authority, saying it is against the interest of investors.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Faiz Mohammad demanded of the government to review the decision for smooth functioning of the industries in the country.

He said that National Highway Authority introduced the axle load regime, reducing the limit of weight for container from 30 to 24 tons. He said that the decision was against the interests of investors and business growth. “Such unilateral decisions are unacceptable to us,” he added.

The SCCI chief said that as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa already faced disadvantage of location, such policies would further affect the exports and industries of the province.

He expressed the fear that after implementation of the regime, the Afghan Transit Trade business would shift from Pakistan to Iran. Consequently, he added, the export-oriented industry of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be affected adversely.

SCCI vice president Haris Mufti, Industrialist Association Hayatabad president Zarak Khan Khattak, senior vice president Ayub Zarkori, SCCI former president Afan Aziz, Haripur Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Attaur Rehman, former president Haji Mohammad Afzal, traders, SCCI executive body members, industrialists and people attached with Afghan Transit Trade were present during the press conference.

Faiz Mohammad said that industries in the province were primarily dependent on containerised shipment on road. He said that gross weight of sealed containers as per international standard was 30 tons per average but the ordinance limited tonnage of container to 24.

He said that around 350 containers were stuck up at various weigh stations in Sindh and Punjab following the implementation of the decision by National Highway Authority.

The SCCI chief said that the regime was unfair and unjustified, which should be deferred and reverse to clear the huge consignments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa pending in other provinces.

He asked the government and NHA to take relevant stakeholders on board before framing such laws and policies.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019