Treasure Magazine

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Pak Customs implements legal changes without rules: APCAA

3 min read
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FBR has constituted a committee to initiate deliberations with the trade and industry for formulating rules in accordance with the legal changes made through clause 28(a)(i) & clause 28(a)(ii) of the Finance Bill, 2021: APCAA

KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has haphazardly implemented the legal changes made through the Finance Bill, 2021 without formulating the rules, cause delays in consignment clearance at ports, said a statement of All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) here on Sunday.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has constituted a committee to initiate deliberations with the trade and industry for formulating rules in accordance with the legal changes made through clause 28(a)(i) & clause 28(a)(ii) of the Finance Bill, 2021.

However, the representatives of Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad chambers and customs associations during the first online session conducted by the committee informed that the Pakistan customs had haphazardly implemented the legal changes made through the Finance Bill, 2021 without formulating the rules, causing delays in consignments clearance at ports.

During online meetings, they rejected the implementation of the legal changes made through section 156 (I) of the Act, urging the authorities to revert the same.

They were of the view that the authorities should avert the implementation of the legal changes made through the Finance Bill, 2021 because the importers were not responsible and would not be penalized if the manufacturers or exporters did not place invoices and packing lists in the consignments.

They informed that the implementation of the legal changes made through clause 28(a)(i) & clause 28(a)(ii) of the Finance Bill, 2021 had been suspended until the rules were finalized.

However, the customs department has enforced the same without having the rules, causing harassment and delays in consignment clearance at ports, urging the committee members to look into the matter and issue necessary directions in this regard.

Meanwhile, Arshad Jamal, Senior Vice Chairman, All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) said that after the amendments made in section 25(a), the collectors had now been empowered to determine the values of the consignments that would make the customs valuation department irrelevant in the whole customs clearance process.

He said that 90 percent of valuation rulings issued by the customs valuation department were based on market inquiries or influenced by the mafias that compelled the importers to do under invoicing to make their goods market competitive.

He said that the menace of under-invoicing could only be eliminated if the customs valuation department was dismantled and the goods would be cleared on transactional values.

“The purpose of section 156 is to assess the consignments on actual values, but it could only be achieved if the consignments were cleared on transactional values,” he said.

For this purpose, the shipping lines, airlines, or shipping agents, who are the licensee of Pakistan customs and handle the shipments on behalf of the importers should be held responsible to ensure that the invoice/packing list is pasted on containers or LCL shipments because they do not load the shipment on the vessels without fulfilling the said requirements, Arshad Jamal said.

“The shipping agents, shipping lines, and airlines should be penalized if they failed to ensure the pasting of the invoice/packing list on containers or LCL shipments,” he said and added that if they were restricted to mention the invoice no, date, and value of invoice on the bill of lading and import manifest then there would be no need to make importers’ responsible in this regard.

Furthermore, Senior Vice Chairman – APCAA said that if the same was implemented, the customs department would be able to actual values by cross-checking the values mentioned in the import manifest and declared by the importers in goods declaration. “In case of any discrepancy, the importer would be charged on actual values with a penalty”.