KHYBER: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief collector (customs) Ahmad Raza Khan has revealed that the Pak-Afghan trade’s volume had considerably plummeted since Kabul fell to the Taliban in August last year.

Talking to reporters during a visit to Torkham, Mr Ahmad said Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan had declined by more than 25 per cent during the last six months due to a ‘fragile economic situation’ in Afghanistan due to the international sanctions imposed after the Taliban’s Kabul takeover.

He said that the weak Afghan economy had decreased the residents’ purchasing buying power, which badly hit trade between the two neighbouring countries.

The official said that the State Bank of Pakistan had introduced a new policy of exports to Afghanistan on Dec 13 requiring Afghan traders to show US dollars along with their passports at the time of entry to Pakistan to acquire Form-E for buying and importing Pakistani goods to Afghanistan.

Customs official blames it on poor Afghan economy

He said that the new SBP trade policy was meant to lure Afghan traders to bring American dollars to Pakistan and thus, increasing Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves to improve its economy.

Mr Ahmad said that with the Afghan banking system nearly on the verge of collapse and their foreign exchange reserves almost dried up, the new trade policy failed to give the much-needed impetus to the bilateral trade.

He, however, said that the government was aware of the situation and was in the process of rectifying the issues caused by the policy.

BOYCOTT: Torkham Custom Clearing Agents Association, Khyber Chamber of Commerce, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commercial Exporters and Exporters, and Cargo Transport Association boycotted the clearance of commercial goods bound for Afghanistan for the third consecutive day on Friday against the State Bank of Pakistan’s new export policy.

Officials at Torkham said that the boycott of goods clearance had cost the country’s exchequer millions of rupees in the last three days.

The protesting traders and transporters said that they won’t submit to the new policy as no formal banking was operational in Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power in Aug last year.

They demanded of the federal government to allow them to do business with Afghanistan in Pakistani currency to restore bilateral trade.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2022

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