LAHORE: The Customs Central Region collected Rs82,831 million in the fiscal year 2018-19 against the set target of customs duties of R 82,409 million, showing a growth of 24 percent as compared to last year’s collection.
Under the leadership of Chief Collector of Customs (Central), Zeba Hai Azhar, the Central Region of Pakistan Customs, comprising the Customs Collectorates of Appraisement Lahore; Preventive Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad, did not only meet the assigned revenue targets but surpassed as well.
At the end of the fiscal year, Chief Collector Zeba Hai Azhar expressing her gratitude appreciated whole team of the Central Region. She lauded the team’s stellar performance and hoped that they would continue to work with the same zeal and enthusiasm in the next fiscal year as well, contributing to the national cause and economic development of the country.
So far as the collection of the revenue for the financial year is concerned, MCC Appraisement, Lahore was the largest contributor to Customs duties with a collection of Rs43,332 million (52%) out of a total of Rs82,831 million. MCC Preventive, Lahore collected Rs20,080 million (24%); MCC Multan collected Rs15,495 million (18.7%); and MCC Faisalabad collected Rs3,923 million (4.7%).
She said the performance is being regarded as remarkable considering the fact that there are a number of mitigating factors and circumstances, exogenous to the tax collection machinery that have contributed to revenue collection trends that are by and large declining across the country.
She added the government policies aimed at import contraction, reduction of the current account balance, and massive depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar and other major currencies have reduced Pakistan’s imports. This is evident from the fact that the State Bank of Pakistan reported that import of goods shrank 5% to $39.3 billion in Jul-Mar FY19 compared to $41.4 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. Furthermore, the rupee depreciated by 16.4% to Rs 141.39 to the US Dollar in the current fiscal year, compared to Rs 121.49 on June 29, 2018. The drop in the import of goods has also seen a drop in the import of services by 21.7% to $6.5 billion in Jul-Mar FY19 compared to $8.3 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.
She said the foregoing factors, coupled with global economic indicators, suggest that the aggregate demand for imports decreased over the fiscal year 2018-19, which made the collection of Customs duties an extremely difficult task, given that targets established at the beginning of the economic cycle and fiscal year, no longer reflected current ground economic realities.
Apart from overall macroeconomic policies and indicators, there are a number of factors uniquely affecting Collectorates in the Central Region, which made revenue collection arduous. Generally speaking, the Collectorates in the Central Region do not see a high volume of transactions over a diversified import base (large number of tariff lines). Collectorates rely on specific tariff lines, commodities, large importers, etc. as a major source of revenue. Consequently, revenue collection is impacted by the economic conditions and prevailing fortunes that such importers find themselves in. Collectorates do not have the luxury of tapping into other sectors to enhance or augment revenue collection, she added.