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Ban on entry in Customs Houses creates hue & cry amongst clearing agents

Ban on entry in Customs Houses creates hue & cry amongst clearing agents

ISLAMABAD: FBR Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi has restricted entry of clearing agents and unauthorized persons including privately hired persons by customs officials (lappoos) into Customs Houses with immediate effect.

FBR Chairman while talking to a TV channel said that purpose of this ban on unauthorised persons is to ensure least interaction between the taxpayer and the tax authorities. “I am also going to put a ban on clearing agents’ entry in customs houses within a day or two days,” he said, adding that clearing agents are not allowed to enter the customs house except on second review. The visiting hours for traders and their authorized representatives for legal formalities in cases involving second review before assistant/deputy collectors shall be limited from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

This announcement by the FBR Chairman caused a big hue and cry amongst the customs agents as earlier he had ordered the ban on entry of unauthorized persons (lappoos) into customs houses. But the FBR Chairman said this ban would be helpful to ensure transparency in clearance system.

The FBR chairman while taking notice of presence of large number of visitors for making the entire clearance system doubtful, ordered the Customs Wing to strictly restrict, entry into Customs Houses, only to the concerned traders, their authorized representatives and members and relevant trade bodies/associations.

Accordingly, Customs Wing issued instructions to its field formations for immediately restricting entry of all un-authorized persons, the statement said. Pakistan Customs is operating its Web Based One Customs (WeBOC) system in order to facilitate the trade and provide ease of doing business in carrying out imports, exports and transit trade. This system is available 24/7 and allows online submission and processing of documents as well as electronic payments of duty and taxes. So there is no need for traders and their representatives to physically visit offices of Customs.