Bottlenecks causing delays in the establishment of an integrated transit trade management system (ITTMS) to facilitate border trade with neighbouring countries were discussed at a meeting here on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who presided over the fourth meeting of the relevant steering committee, constituted further committees to sort out the bottlenecks. Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz was also present.

The meeting was informed that a local tribe was not willing to sell out land on ownership basis and instead will give it on lease. As a result, the local tribe will be given a lease amount, share in employment and an amount of Rs600 per vehicle.

Currently, the NLC is collecting Rs2,500 per vehicle. This includes Rs600 per vehicle for the local tribe. Besides, political agents are also charging Rs3,500 per vehicle.

The finance minister asked the relevant officials to meet the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to rationalise the extra money being charged per vehicle.

We have to reduce the cost of doing business, the minister said, adding the committee members should discuss all these issues with the governor.

Asian Development Bank Country Representative Werner Liepach informed the meeting that an aide memoire with draft project processing documents, including draft land acquisition and resettlement plans, had been shared with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for endorsement before the ADB board meeting.

The ADB has committed $223 million for the project, primarily through its own resources, or by including some other development partner.

ADB’s country-director disclosed that the cost of the project had increased to $320m, which will be a loan. Some participants criticised the increase in the cost. A committee was constituted to revisit the details of the project and for submitting a revised PC-1.

The project was included in PSDP for fiscal year 2014-15. FBR presented the PC-I in August 2014 to the Planning Commission. Pre-Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meetings were also held in October 2014.

The revised PC-1 has also been submitted. Technical Evaluation and Project Appraisal have been completed and the FBR has designated focal persons to liaise with local administrations at Torkham, Chaman and Wagah borders.

Due to security reasons, the contract will be given to FWO or NLC at Torkham and Chaman borders. A four-member committee was constituted for selection of the project director.

In January 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a 13-member steering committee, headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to suggest solutions for the establishment of land ports.

The committee established the Land Port Authority (LPA). Under the plan, three dry ports will be set up at Torkham, Chaman and Wagah. The LPA would oversee the construction, and management and maintenance of the integrated border crossing points and future extension.

LPA would act as a common platform for all regulatory agencies, and the concept would be based on various administrative models followed in countries, like Singapore, India and Bangladesh.