KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban authorities hosted a Pakistani delegation in Kabul from July 18-20, according to a press release by the Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan, discussing mutual actions for enhancing bilateral ties and regional trade and transit.
Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said the meeting focused on better opportunities for trade and transit, facilitating exports and imports, resolving problems at the crossing points, as well as addressing visa-issuing concerns for easy travel to neighboring country.
“Both sides agreed to work in coordination with each other for economic development and to further facilitate trade between the two countries,” Zia Ahmad Takal told TOLOnews.
Pakistani delegation in Kabul led by Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui agreed on the following points with the Islamic Emirate:
- During the current financial year bilateral trade and transit has registered growth. This momentum needs to be sustained and further strengthened on mutually beneficial basis.
- It was agreed to make border crossing points more efficient to ensure early clearance of trade and transit traffic and address the bottlenecks and impediments on priority basis.
- The two sides agreed to implement Temporary Admission Document (TAD) allowing free movement of bilateral trade vehicles and prevent loading and unloading of goods at the border crossing points with view to further increase trade between the two countries.
- The relevant authorities of the two sides also agreed to increase operational timings at all crossing points, particularly Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Chaman/Spin Boldak.
- The heads of the Custom departments of the two countries agreed to work together and evolve mutually connected custom procedures and systems to improve efficiency in clearance of goods.
- Steps to be taken for starting luxury bus service between Peshawar & Jalalabad and Quetta & Kandahar making all possible efforts to commence the service from end of August this year.
- Difficulties in visa processing would be addressed through mutual coordination.
Meanwhile the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said that no representative of the ACCI was invited to the meeting between the Pakistani delegation and Islamic Emirate.
“In general, the talks were good. We confirm this, particularly the barter trade was discussed. We hope a good decision will be made and the use of both currencies (for trade) will be the decision—not only Koldar but also Afghan currency,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI, as local media quoted.
“The 12-member delegation of Pakistan arrived in Afghanistan and met with the Minister of Commerce and Industry (Nooruddin Azizi). This was a good opportunity for Afghanistan, thus the Afghan trucks can carry the products to any location in Pakistan,” said Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock.
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Earlier, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said it has collected more than 24 billion Afs in revenue from customs offices within the first three months of the fiscal year – a promising figure for a country that has been suffering from financial loose since the fall last August.
“Approximately, so far, more than 24.16 billion Afs has been made in revenue,” said Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for the MoF, as TOLOnews quoted. “This is good revenue compared to the previous years.”
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that the exports and imports have had a positive impact on this year’s revenue, adding the surge in exports of coal caused the rise in the country’s annual revenue.
“The previous year’s first period (three months), the exports were worth nearly $200 million, and it is now more than $400 million,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI. “Last year, we had one billion dollars in exports and this year I hope it increases to one and half billion dollars.
Meanwhile, Afghan economist expressed joy over the increased revenue, saying such a progress is promising and it could help the country improve its economy amid ongoing concerns about poverty across Afghanistan.
“The exports caused an increase in investment and it helps to develop of the country’s economic status,” said Seyar Qureshi, an economist, as local media quoted.
Based on the available numbers of the MoE, more than five billion Afs from Islam Qala port, 3.5 billon Afs from Torkham crossing, nearly three billon Afs from Spin Boldak were made in revenue for the government within the first three months of the fiscal year, according to the report.