PESHAWAR, Aug 22: The cost of doing business with Afghanistan is likely to register considerable increase following the Afghan government’s impending move to revise upward import tariffs, business circles said on Tuesday.
Businessmen associated with export business and Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) apprehends that the increase in cost of doing business with their clients in Afghanistan would hurt exports from Pakistan.
Pakistan recorded substantial increase in its exports to Afghanistan during the last three years because of gradual increase in demand for construction material, food items, electric appliance and consumer goods since the advent of the new government in Kabul.
Afghanistan experienced a crisis like situation when people associated with the import business stopped paying duties about two months back, as their government introduced major increase in import duties to boost revenue generation.
Long queues of trucks loaded with ATT goods and items imported from Pakistan created a mess for the Afghan authorities after the importers refused to clear their goods on duties at the higher rates.
The Afghan government had raised the rate of duty from two-and-a-half per cent to ten per cent in some of the cases rendering importers to pay Rs400,000 as import duty on goods, which they previously got cleared by paying Rs100,000, said Mohammed Naveed, a businessman.
Though the Afghan government had revived the old duty structure, importers were given two months time to negotiate the issue with the ministry of finance.
The two months time is about to end during the next few days following which the new duty structure would be applicable, which, the businessmen said had not yet been announced by the Afghan government.
However, according to Mr Naveed, the new revised rates of duty would not be as exorbitant as those introduced last time, when the majority of importers were rendered unable to pay the duties.
"We have learnt that now import duties on those items, which are produced locally, would register a major jump. These products include beverages, ghee and a couple of other items," said Zia-ul-Haq, an exporter.
Business circles said that the two months timeframe would lapse on Aug 26 following which the new duty structure was expected to come in place.