Gvt to ensure consultation of business communities in formulating Pak-Afghan trade policy: Shahid

PESHAWAR:The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) has pledged to increase trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

The government should ensure consultation of the business community in formulating a new Pak-Afghan trade policy in line with modern requirements to enhance Pak-Afghan bilateral trade.

Afghanistan is using Pakistan’s route for transit trade. Similarly, Afghanistan should allow Pakistan to use its route for Central Asian states so that Pakistani exports can be increased and the ties of trade between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics could be further cemented.

These views were expressed by Shahid Hussain Shinwari, Convener of FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Trade Afghanistan and Central Asian States while addressing the first meeting held at Regional Office Peshawar here on Saturday.

The meeting was attended by FPCCI Coordinator Sartaj Ahmed Khan, Travel and Education Committee Member Sannan Sethi, Assistant Vice President Sindh Bank Imran Khalid, Exporter Qari Nazim Gul Shinwari, Dr Nas Rasheed, Wahid Khan, Muhammad Zakaria, Anwarullah, Syed Qaiser Malik Advocate, Regional Secretary Mian Muhammad Wisal, Engineer Khalid Haider, and others did it in large numbers. The exporters discussed the issues of Pak-Afghan trade and appreciated the efforts of FPCCI to increase trade between Pak-Afghan and Central Asian states.

Addressing the gathering, Convener Shahid Hussain Shinwari said that Policies formulated years ago cannot work and that is why annual exports have fallen from less than 3 billion to less than 1 billion and the government needs time to formulate a new policy for Pak-Afghan trade and include the advice of stakeholder businessmen.

He said that due to lack of facilities in Pak-Afghan exports, Iran and India have a monopoly on the Afghan market and the main reason is that Pakistan is giving less facilities to its exporters. He said that exporters are the capital of the country and the government. Give time to exporters as much as possible, Shahid Hussain said. He demanded that Pak-Afghan Border Station Torkham be upgraded as soon as possible so that the problems faced by the exporters could be resolved.

Convener FPCCI Standing Committee on Trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, Shahid Hussain Shinwari also commended launching of Rs. 3.8 billion interest free loans for the youth of the province and termed it a good initiative for ensuring opportunity to youth for standing up on their feet by running their small business.

Shahid Hussain Shinwari said youth in merged areas of the province have very meager means of resources and such schemes will prove a boon for them to start their own business or investment in agriculture land.

He appreciated business friendly policies of the KP govt as the scheme target is to extend support to around 3500 businesses and benefit more than 10,500 families.

Under the program, he said, Rs. 2 bln ‘innovation fund for entrepreneurs, youth and women’ will be rolled out for settled areas and the Rs1.8 bln ‘start-up program for the economic uplift of youth from merged areas.

Convener FPCCI Standing Committee said country youth are full of talent and motivation, just they need a push and schemes like Prime Minister Kamyab Jawan Program and KP govt interest free loan scheme would help them a lot to start up their professional careers.

Shahid Hussain Shinwari also praised Prime Minister Kamyab Jawan Program under which more than 5000 plus businesses are given financial amounts upto Rs. 8 bln to start new businesses or expand the existing ones.

Such schemes, he said, will bring a revolution in the country by empowering thousands of youth including women in the country and also create hundreds of thousands of jobs, Shahid added.

Shahid expressed the hope that schemes launched by present govt will reap benefits soon in shape of economic uplift of country’s youth besides expending more business activities as we need business and the govt should come up with more such business friendly schemes.