via Frontier Post
By IMTIAZ HUSSAIN
PESHAWAR - For the first time, the wheat flour and sugar worth millions of US dollars has been imported to Peshawar under the Afghan Transit Trade agreement.
"The total of 1.579 million kilogram flour reached here from United Arab Emirates (UAE) through transit trade," informed a source at the Peshawar dry port on Wednesday. He disclosed that a group of Afghan nationals and some locals had been importing the wheat-flour from Dubai since some time back.
The official at Peshawar dry port informed that 31580 bags of wheat flour had been imported during one month. He informed that the concerned group of importers had already sent more demands and Letters of Credit (L.c.'s) had already been opened for this purpose. He informed that thousand of kilograms of flour was in the pipeline and coming through ships in the current month.
The source disclosed that 71,739 bags of sugar had also reached Peshawar under the Afghan trade agreement during the past two months. "Million of rupees have been made through the import of sugar," the source informed. Sugar was imported from UAE for the first time under Afghan transit trade agreement, he added.
"The import of flour from UAE is a very strange for us," the source said. He said that for the first time, Pakistan had produced wheat in surplus, "even we do not have space in our godowns to store wheat, the source said. He said that it was short coming of our import policy that flour was being imported from Dubai at a time when we had surplus wheat production in our country.
"The Afghan traders and importers should purchase these items from Pakistan instead of importing them from other countries," the source said. "The government should streamline the Afghan Transit Trade policy", the source further said.
It is learnt that the price of a single bag of 80 kilogram of sugar is being sold at Rs.900 in Afghanistan. Whereas the locally prepared sugar is sold in the market at Rs.1200 per bag. One can imagine that how cheap is the rate of imported sugar as excluding transportation and import charges, per bag rate is Rs 300 less than a single sugar bag in Pakistan.
It merits a mention here that the import of flour under transit trade is not banned. Pakistan has allowed a fix quota of flour for Afghanistan which is less than the required capacity. To fulfil its increasing demand inside Afghanistan, the flour is being smuggled from Pakistan to Afghanistan in bulk.
If the Pakistani government allows free supply of flour to Afghanistan, then the importers will prefer Pakistani flour. They will stop importing wheat flour from Dubai. It is a high time to allow free supply of flour to Afghanistan as Pakistan has surplus wheat production in the current season.