The Pakistan government on Thursday decided to increase service charges for transit cargo sent for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US personnel stationed in Afghanistan.
Against the existing charges of Rs5,000 per container, the new rates will be Rs10,000 per container, effective from January 1, 2012 for shipments bound for US, ISAF and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces, said an official of the finance ministry. He said the charges are meant to recover costs incurred on trucking, documentation and toll taxes. Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh approved the proposal during a meeting of the National Logistic Board (NLB). The National Highway Authority has recently revealed that NATO and ISAF containers have caused Rs124 billion worth of damage to the national road network over the years. ISAF and NATO cargo has come under scrutiny after containers marked for Afghanistan went missing en route. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is currently scrutinising US and NATO cargo traffic to determine the exact number of missing containers and the losses they have caused to the national economy in the shape of damaging local industry and loss of tariff revenue.
The meeting also deliberated the implementation of a monitoring and coordination regime for US, ISAF and NATO cargo. It also reviewed the options of sealing and scanning containers, installation of tracking devices and setting up check points. Director General NLB shared a progress report on Afghan Transit Trade with participants. The meeting discussed measures to avoid any duplication in the functioning of NLC and FBR’s customs department. The finance minister also approved a proposal for the independent registration of National Logistics Cell (NLC) with the Saudi Registration Authority, a new commercial registration agreement between NLC and Qatar and purchase of 21 light vehicles.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.
More in PakistanThe case of the missing Speaker