Lahore, December 24, 2012 (PPI-OT): Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation is utilizing all available resources to curb the menace of smuggling but since it is directly hitting trade and industry, the business community would have to play its role.
This was stated by Director General Customs Intelligence and Investigation Samaira Nazir Khan while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday. LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, former Presidents Iftikhar Ali Malik, Sheikh Mohammad Asif, Mian Muzaffar Ali, former Senior Vice President Sohail Lashari, former Vice Presidents Aftab Ahmad Vohra and Saeeda Nazar also spoke on the occasion.
The DG said that this is a wrong notion that the Customs Intelligence and Investigation department is creating any sort of hurdles in the flow of goods rather she made it clear that the department acts on a specific information.
She said that unlike a number of other countries of the world, Pakistan has very long border with Iran, Afghanistan and China and despite frantic efforts, smuggling is happening through these borders. She said that the department has successfully curbed the smuggling of plastic moulding compound while things are moving in right direction on other fronts.
She reiterated that the department would continue to facilitate genuine businessmen and those trying to create troubles for genuine businessmen would not be tolerated in the department. She said that the government understands that the economy was already under tremendous pressure therefore both public and private sectors would have to work in unison to overcome the challenges.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar spoke on a number of issues being faced by the business community but particularly highlighted smuggling, under-invoicing and uniform valuation at all ports.
He said that it is indeed a sorry state of affairs that smuggling is rampant and its scale is getting larger with the passage of time. It is causing obvious loss to national exchequer but it is the industry that bears the real brunt of it. Pace of smuggling may get low or high depending upon the circumstances but once the industry gets the serious blow, sometimes it becomes very difficult to recover. Smuggling has become a most lucrative activity because firm action is not being taken against those who are involved in it.
The LCCI President said that Customs officials associated with Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation are equipped and experienced enough to track such elements but still a lot is desired to be done. He said that the Customs officials deputed to check smuggling should be more active at or nearby borders. But we often find them busy in stopping and checking movements of goods within the cities. Although there are many check points come in the way to finally bring smuggled goods to local markets but their performance is not up to the mark.
The LCCI President said that only a few months back the smuggling of plastic raw material from Iran in particular was fairly checked but from the last couple of months it has started again. Under-invoicing can be termed in a way a formal mode of smuggling. The absence of uniform valuation at all the customs ports is one such factor that gives rise to it. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been asking for a uniform valuation system but to no avail.
It is mandatory to keep invoice and packing list with container while transporting it from port to godown. In case of under invoicing, importers deliberately do not follow this instruction and gladly pay penalty if inquired by Customs officials. There should be strict measures to stop such malpractices as the economy gets severely affected especially in our case where exports are well below than imports.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854