The government is contemplating the imposition of the fee to be collected by the army-run National Logistics Cell (NLC) as a condition for reopening the supply routes that were closed in retaliation for a cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
There is no proposal from the Federal Board of Revenue to impose a transit fee on ISAF and NATO containers but the government is considering a proposal to allow the NLC to charge a fee for transportation charges and for providing No Objection Certificates, sources privy to the development told The News daily.
With the approval of Parliament, the Federal Board of Revenue introduced a provision in the Customs Act of 1969 to collect a transit fee last year.
The mechanism and rate for this is yet to be finalised."The proposed fee is not to be imposed by the FBR despite getting approval in the Finance Bill 2011," an unnamed senior official of the FBR told the daily.
Instead, the NLC will be tasked to collect the fee and to ensure that no pilferage of NATO supplies occurs during transit through Pakistan.
The NLC currently charges a small fee for granting NOC and a proposal is being considered to raise this fee to 1,000 dollars per container in case NATO supplies are restored, sources told the daily.
Under an agreement signed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf after he joined the US-led war on terror, NATO and ISAF forces were allowed to transport goods through Pakistan without paying any transit fee.
Supplies for NATO troops are shipped to Karachi and then trucked across Pakistan, entering Afghanistan either in its south, through the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan, or in its east via the Khyber Pass.Over 4,000 container trucks and about 1,000 oil tankers passed through Pakistan every month before Islamabad shut the supply routes last year.
Official documents tabled in Parliament last year estimated Pakistan's economy has sustained losses of over 68 billion dollars due to the war against terrorism.
The government has claimed that the NATO trucks have damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure from Karachi to Torkham while the country has charged nothing from US and its allies.