15-member committee, Customs officials discuss WeBOC issues

KARACHI: A 15-member committee comprising members of Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA), export committee, trade bodies and others held a meeting with Customs officials including Project Director (PD) WeBOC Tanveer Ahmed, additional collectors, deputy collectors and assistant collectors and discussed issues related to WeBOC system installed at Customs House, Karachi.

The meeting was chaired by PD WeBoC Tanveer Ahmed and issues pertaining to WeBOC came under discussion.

Well informed sources told Customs Today that 15-member committee expressed its reservations over the formation of WeBOC without consultation with all stakeholders.

Sources further informed this scribe that the committee members also came hard on the performance of terminal operators and delay in grounding the containers. The trade bodies including Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Federal Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), exporters and customs agents were of the view that they are suffering huge losses in shape of demurrage/detention charges.

“Customs officials assured the trade bodies and other members for redressal of the issues on immediate basis”, sources claimed.

They further informed that a high level meeting of the committee members with high-ups of Customs officials including chief collectors and collectors is likely to be held in coming days.

It is pertinent to mention here that Customs officials in coordination with members of other stakeholders had decided to form a committee for redressal of the issues facing by customs agents and other trade bodies.

First meeting in this regard was held on Thursday and attended by Saifullah Khan (President KCAA), Yahya Muhammad (General Secretary KCAA), Qamar Alam (former Senior Vice President Export), Amin Essani (former Senior Vice President KCAA), Wasiq Hussain (former General Secretary KCAA), Faisal Mushtaq (former General Secretary KCAA), Shams Burney, (Senior Vice President All Pakistan Customs Agents Association) Arshad Jamal, Basit Ahmed (KCCI member) and others.

KCAA elections’ schedule announced

KARACHI: The Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) has announced its annual elections’ schedule for the year 2013-14.

According to the details, the annual elections of the KCAA for the year 2013-14 would be held on September 26 while the last date of filing the nomination forms for contesting elections would be September 11.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on September 13 while the list of valid nominations will be displayed on Sept 14.

Moreover, the last date of withdrawal of the nominations would be Sept 23.The final list of the candidates will be displayed on September 23.

 

APCAA prepares 20-point agenda for Customs dept improvement

KARACHI – All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) has prepared a 20-point agenda for discussion with the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Chief Collector (Appraisement) in order to improve the work of Customs Department.

The points of agenda are as follows:-

The APCAA has demanded introduction of methods in order to curb corruption from the department.

Removal of complications created due to the enhancement of Customs stations.

Introduction of hassle-free procedure to enroll the taxpayers in the department by providing them ID and password, as this process is affecting with corruption.

Amendments in the process of collecting Customs levy at National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Custom House Branch.

Induction of automation in WeBOC; as it is imperative to curb corruption and helps in elucidate the entire procedure.

Standing orders to be issued to restrict the declarant for mentioning proper description, weight, quantity and other information in the light of Customs tariff and valuation rulings, as the submission of inaccurate Goods Declarations (GDs) is continued with the connivance of Customs officials”, it recommended.

Hold of the procedure of filing self goods declaration by commercial sector, as it causes to sabotage the system.

The APCAA urges valuation ruling along with HS code in order to determine the exact value of duty and taxes besides facilitating goods declarants.

It recommends restricting assessment appraisers not to call unnecessary consignments for examination and conduct assessment in its true spirit, as assessment on excess valuation invites reviews that open the door for corruption.

Modification and improvement of the performance of FTA procedure, as the posts of FTA checking and scanning have become most lucrative position.

Secrecy in assessment hall, where sepoys are active to facilitate Appraisers in malpractice, as one can easily find CRN/Container Nos on phones of all officials and sepoys that prove no clearance without human interaction, tarnishing the concept of automation.

It further recommends appropriate action against corrupt Customs officials including assistant collectors, deputy collectors and additional collectors without any further delay.

Ask the Principal Appraisers (PAs) not to uphold the consignments, due to no contacts in cases if reviews.

Set a deadline for the officials to complete the reviews.

The APCAA recommends the Customs Department to adopt 24×7 policy in order to reduce clearance time, as there is no dearth of Appraisers and PAs.

Establishment of Service Center at Custom House in order to deal the issues related to Port Qasim on 24×7 basis.

Addressing the complaints related to containers grounding, goods for examination, lack of skilled labours and surveyors, adding that separate joint meetings should be convened with the terminals and terminals should be controlled by Pakistan Customs under the SRO.

It also recommends enrollment of several international lines, operating in Pakistan with Customs Department.

APCAA also demands withdrawal of Saturday, as public holiday in prevailing law and order situation of the city, as it creates excessive financial burden on traders in terms of high demurrage, container rent and etc.

FBR committee to redress problems of importers, clearing agents

KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to form a committee in collaboration with the Customs Department and other stakeholders including clearing agents and industrialists in order to facilitate the importers and clearing and forwarding agents and to take steps to curb the corruption in the department.

Sources in the Customs Department told Customs Today that a 15-member committee headed by the Project Director, (PD) WeBoC comprising other officials of the Customs Agents Association, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

“The committee will look after the issues facing by the importers and clearing agents and highlight the flaws of the Customs Department and work for its betterment”, they added.

Sources further informed that the recommendations in this regard have been sent to the Chairman FBR for approval and soon the committee will be formed.

Clearing agents and importers were of the view that the committee will definitely work for the redressal of the problems faced by them.

They lauded the said initiative taken by the high authorities of FBR and other related offices.

APCAA appeals Customs high-ups to keep offices open till 10pm

KARACHI: Senior Vice President of All Pakistan Customs Agent Association (APCCA) Arshad Jamal has appealed to Customs high-ups to keep the offices of Customs Department open till 10pm during the last 3 days of Ramzan, so that the clearance process could be accomplished.

In a statement, Jamal also hailed the decision of Member Customs Nisar Muhammad Khan and Chief Collector (Appraisement) Nasir Masroor regarding opening of the Customs House on Saturday and Sunday.

He further added that the said step will definitely help the importers and clearing agents as they will not pay extra amount in shape of demurrage and detention on the imported goods at various terminals.

Meanwhile, President Karachi Customs Agent Association (KCAA) Saifullah Khan has also expressed gratitude over the decision of the Member Customs and Chief Collector (Appraisement) regarding opening of the Customs offices on public holidays i.e. Saturday and Sunday.

“Through the said decision of the Member Customs and Chief Collector (Appraisement) has proved that they are patriotic and true Pakistani”, Khan added.

KCAA to go on ‘indefinite’ strike against notices on ATT issue

SOHAIL RAB KHAN

KARACHI: The Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) has decided to go on strike from the first week of July for an indefinite period against the unjustified show-cause notices issued to more than 275 companies on Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) issue.

This was announced by President (KCAA) Saif Ullah Khan while addressing a press conference at his office here on Thursday. General Secretary (KCAA) Yahya Muhammad and former General Secretary (KCAA) Arshad Jamal were also present on the occasion. Khan informed the media that more than 10,000 show-cause notices worth billion of rupees have been served to nearly 275 companies in connection with Afghan Transit Trade issue.

Khan said the KCAA would the Supreme Court SC in order to seek justice from the apex judiciary. “We demand a judicial inquiry with the assistance of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Customs Intelligence”, he added.

“When the Customs and national carriers had issued the Afghan Transit Trade Clearance Certificate (ATTCC) to the companies after examining the goods, so why the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had issued show-cause notices to the Customs agents?” Khan questioned.

He further said that a delegation of KCAA has met with Chief Collector (Appraisement) Muhammad Yahya in this regard but he was of the view that the matter was under probe and would be finalised on June 30.

Khan alleged that the authorities concerned had not carried out the investigations into the matter in a proper manner and held Customs agents responsible for such illegal Afghan Trade.

“According to the Para 16(A), the Customs agents and the importer companies are only responsible till the goods are handed over to Customs authorities after examination. So why the authorities concerned hold Customs agents responsible for this issue?” he added.