PESHAWAR: The Afghan traders have expressed concerns over the dwindling business activities in their country and demanded of Pakistan government to open trade routes and facilitate them to improve trade volume between the two neighbouring countries.
Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday, a delegation of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Afghan traders were facing serious problems in imports and exports owing to the ‘disturbed’ banking system.
The chamber president, Khan Jan Alkozi, said that business activities across the border suffered during the Ashraf Ghani government mainly owing to uncontrolled corruption. He said that the situation further worsened in the prevailing circumstances owing to uncertain banking system.
“At least 2,000 known Afghan businessmen have shifted from Afghanistan to Turkey recently. They have invested there in different sectors,” he said and urged Pakistan government to facilitate the Afghan traders on pattern of Turkey by providing friendly-business environment to them.
PAJCCI demands opening of all trade routes
Ajmal Safi, another member of the delegation, said that Afghan traders wanted to invest in Pakistan but they were facing some problems. “We have applied for trade licences in Pakistan but the relevant departments are yet to respond positively,” he added.
He said that Pakistan should open all the trade routes and allow the Afghan traders to open accounts in Pakistani banks as it was in the interest of people of both the countries. He also demanded relaxation in the restrictions on movement of people at Torkham border.
“Our people want to do business but they are facing problems in preparations of required documents to enable them to move freely in the Pakistani trade markets,” he said.
The office-bearers of Afghan Traders Federation and Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce and Industry including Sultan Mahmood Safi, Dr Mukhlis Ahmad and Babrak Akbari said that the delegation would hold meetings with Pakistani authorities in Islamabad to seek their support in solution to their issues.
They said that traders were facing problems in timely transportation of perishable items owing to uncertain bilateral trade policy. They said that traders were facing huge financial losses on both sides of the border owing to delay in supply of fresh fruits and vegetable.
They urged both Pakistan and Afghan governments to remove the hurdles in bilateral trade to strengthen regional economy and control price hike and unemployment.
The traders said that they would hold a series of meetings with relevant officials in Pakistan and then in Afghanistan to pave way for smooth bilateral business activities.
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021