Islamabad, April 25, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the first meeting of the Steering Committee on Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS) at the Finance Ministry today.
The Prime Minister has tasked the Steering Committee to propose solution and way forward for trade facilitation, security of supply chain, Infrastructure for developing better controls and advance and integrated use of technology with swift Customs operations.
Chairman FBR Mr. Tariq Bajwa in a detailed presentation to the Steering Committee said that the Committee has been formed in line with the vision of the Prime Minister to make Pakistan emerge as a trade and transit hub of South Asia and Central Asia.
He informed about the status of existing conditions at the land ports. He identified that there are space constraints at all border stations, inadequate and non-integrated scanning facilities at Karachi and Wahga, no scanning facility at other land ports, poorly equipped and untrained workforce, and delayed clearances. The Committee was also informed that the Asian Development Bank is expected to provide funds upto US $ 100 million for the project in 2014.
Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security informed the Committee that other regional countries are fast developing their ports and transit trade facilities and in order to develop an integrate transit trade, Pakistan will have to consider signing TIR Convention 1975.
He proposed that the Steering Committee should recommend adopting of the Convention by Pakistan. He said that we have to provide a transparent and corruption free system at our land ports with strong on the ground monitoring mechanism to match the international standards.
The Finance Minister said that trade facilitation measures require realistic timeframes that have to include long-term implications, acquire the support of all stakeholders and to take into consideration the financial viability of projects. He emphasized that in the planning phase we must think of 50 years ahead and develop concept papers accordingly.
He directed the FBR to simultaneously develop integrated master plan for integrated transit trade management system for both land and sea ports. He added that we have to move on fast track and advance our targets. The Finance Minister also directed the Committee to collect relevant data from concerned ministries of all the pending agreements on transit trade and their latest status.
The Committee decided to form a sub-committee consisting of four members; Secretary Defence, Secretary Commerce, Chairman FBR and a representative of ADB to visit the sites to review the existing arrangements and identify the impediments for future up gradation of the land ports. The Sub-committee will present its recommendations before the Committee.
The Committee also decided that a concept paper will be developed outlining the detailed work plan. PC1 will be prepared by FBR and on a parallel track all stake holders will also provide inputs and proposals for establishing “Land Port Authority” to be responsible for looking after the project on permanent basis. For the time being FBR will be the focal operating authority for the project. Federal Secretaries for Finance, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Commerce Division also attended the meeting.
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