‘Comprehensive transit policy being formulated for trade promotion’

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi has informed on Thursday that a comprehensive shipping Transit policy is being formulated, which will be soon implemented to enhance the country’s exports by boosting up mutual trade with Central Asian republics.
The minister said the operations have been digitized at Karachi’s port, which has eliminated the corruption element to some extent. He added initiatives had been taken to further strengthen Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.
The minister asked the businessmen to shift from the primitive procedure to E-commerce. His informed notice has been taken over increasing demurrage charges of containers at Karachi’s port and said the traders will hear many good news very soon.
Ali Zaidi was speaking to members of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry during his visit here at the chamber. On the occasion, the meeting was chaired by President SCCI Hasnain Khurshid Ahmad.
The chamber senior vice president Imran Khan, vice president Javed Akhtar, former FPCCI president Ghazanfar Bilour, former presidents Zahidullah Shinwari, Faiz Muhammad Faizi, former SCCI’s SVP Engineer Manzoor Elahi, Shahid Hussain, former VP Abdul Jalil Jan, Malik Niaz Awan, Junaid Altaf, members of the chamber’s executive committee Haji Ghulam Hussain, Syed Minhajuddin, Ejaz Khan Afridi, Naeem Qasmi, Waqar Ahmad, Zahoor Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Fazal Muqeem, Ghulam Bilal Javed, Aftab Iqbal, Ihsanullah, Mujeeb ur Rehman, Shams ur Rahim, Sohail Javed, Faiz Rasool, Mazarul Haq and Saddar Gul.
Hasnain Khurshid apprised the visiting minister about traders’ reservations over high demurrage charges, monopoly of shipping companies, issues relating to exports and other problems which were hampering trade and exports. He presented proposals for amicable resolution of all those issues.
The SCCI chief said that the significance of Karachi and Gwadar ports has further increased with the advent of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He informed that owing to being far away from port city, KP traders are being faced with enormous difficulties, which need to be addressed by taking practical steps at governmental level.
He proposed the shifting of Afghan Transit Trade containers from Karachi to Gwadar port in order to ease burden and accelerate exports proceeds and process.
The chamber president welcomed the government’s business friendly policies as a result of the country’s economy heading toward the right direction, which would bring positive impacts in the coming days.
Hasnain Khurshid said the taxpayers have played a pivotal role in the economic development of the country so the government should facilitate the business community at every level and take pragmatic steps for ease of doing business.
The minister on the occasion agreed with proposals of the SCCI members and assured them to resolve all issues on priority basis.
Ali Zaidi said despite the coronavirus pandemic, the national economy has been boosted up to an optimal level that has also improved the country’s exports. He stressed that the prosperous business community is essential for the country’s economic turnaround.
He said operations at ports have been digitized, which has helped to eradicate element of corruption to some extent.
The Minister claimed that the ship has first in the history of the country come out unbroken from the breaking yard as ship exit rules are strictly followed by the incumbent government. He lamented that no work was done on promoting tourism on the seaport site/strip.
World is changing first, so we will need to go toward E-commerce, the minister stressed. He informed the incumbent government has procured 2 new ships, raising the total number from 9 to 11.
He noted a global cartel has been created of people, attached with seaport trade, adding that trade through seaport has enhanced exponentially across the world.
In wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister said the shipping companies are earning double revenue.
The Minister said the delay in judgements on various cases owing to stay orders by superior courts, in support of the Ministry of Law, would soon formulate policy to address this issue.
A comprehensive Transit trade policy is being formulated to boost up trade with Central Asian Republics, through which local traders would take benefits, the minister informed. He said the ferry service was allowed for Hajj and Umrah, in this regard, work at the port terminal was continued on a fast-track basis.
On the occasion, the minister responded to different questions from reporters and said that the institutions have been removed through NAB ordinance, meaning that every institution should work at its own level. He said FBR, FIA and other institutions should work regarding investigation of assets. If the offshore companies have been established for tax-evasion, action needs to be taken, he stressed.