ISLAMABAD: Government has decided to set up a 13-member steering committee to be headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar with five federal ministers and seven secretaries of the relevant departments for the development of an integrated transit trade management system at border customs stations to facilitate trade with neighbouring countries. The integration of the transit trade is aimed to stop pilferage in the domestic market with a facility of satellite tracking system.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved the summary of Federal Board of Revenue International Customs Section for constituting the committee to finalise the project plan for the implementation of the system.
Sources said that the system is being developed in a way that would ensure safety and security of the region as well as global supply chain. This will also help in facilitating trade across borders. FBR has also recently held a development partners’ conference to get feedback and assurances to finance the implementation of the system.
The need for the integrated transit trade was felt after the Iranian government established Chahbahar seaport, which is located along the Makran coast in the Sistan-Balochistan province in Iran, just a few kilometres away from Gwadar. The Iranian government has already declared Chahbahar as a free-trade and industrial zone posing a serious challenge for Pakistan in losing its share in transit trade to Iran.
The steering committee will develop a project plan and oversee the implementation of the project until its completion. The committee will assign specific roles to various stakeholders and coordinate with the development partners for their technical and financial support.
The members of the committee to be headed by finance minister include ministers for foreign affairs, defence, railways, communication and commerce. The secretaries include finance, revenue division, foreign affairs, defence, railways, communication and commerce.
India has also developed integrated customs posts (ICP) to facilitate border trade. The first ICP was inaugurated in Attari in Indian Punjab in April 2012.