Khyber Pass Economic Corridor to enhance economic activities

Ahmad Nabi

LANDI KOTAL: The World Bank has okayed a loan of $406.6 million to Pakistan for the development of the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) project that will benefit traders in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics.

In this connection a ceremony was held in Economic Affairs Division in which on behalf of Pakistan Economic Affairs Division, Secretary Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas and the World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan signed the agreement.

According to the Economic Affairs Division, the project will construct 48 km long 4-Lane, dual carriageway high-speed access controlled motorway, from Peshawar to Torkham. The expressway would reduce transit time and costs for regional and international trade transiting the Khyber Pass and extend till Karachi-Lahore-Islamabad-Peshawar Trans-Pakistan Expressway System, said the statement, adding that it would form as an integral part of the planned Peshawar-Kabul-Dushanbe Motorway.

Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, ex-senior-vice president of Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and president of Frontier Customs Agents Association declared the KPEC as omen for the economy of the country, especially for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that for the last one and half decade, traders of KP and the merged districts suffered a lot that needed to be facilitated.

Some restricted trading policies, implemented had negative impact on exports and because of it, Pak-Afghan business annually falling from $2.5 billion to less than $1 billion, he said, adding that their neighbors like India developed Chah Bahar project to decrease Pakistani trade with Afghanistan and Central Asians countries, however with founding of the KPEC plan they would achieve the target of export to $5 billion. The purpose of the KPEC was to expand economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan by improving regional connectivity and promoting private sector development, Mr Sarhadi added.

When the General Sectary, Khyber Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jawad Hussain Kazmi was asked for his comments on the project, he said that certainly it would have positive impact on country’s economy besides it would boost local economic activities. “Next to four line motorway, industries will be set up in Khyber district which will provide jobs to the locals at their door steps,” he maintained.

Shakir Afridi, President, Khyber Transport Association said that roads and highways were sign of development and they would reduce travelling time and the truckers would have easy access to Afghanistan and onward in Central Asia. He maintained that the transporters would approach their destination without delaying in traffic mess and it would help to deliver the consignment on time. According to the World Bank website the project has a closing date of June 28, 2024.

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