ISLAMABAD: Chief Collector Customs North Region Dr. Asif Mehmood Jah said that the Torkham inquiry is still being conducted by the JIT as well as the FIA and no final report has so far been compiled by any of these two agencies till date.
Talking with Customs Today during an exclusive interview the Chief Collector North said that inquiry report of Torkham scandal is still under investigation as soon as the reports are submitted and officially shared with FBR, the Chief Collector office will be in a position to comment on the matter.
Answering a query regarding the initiatives taken under COVID-19 pandemic he said that the Collectorates are trying their best to generate maximum revenue through auctions, encashment of BGs and other administrative measures. Nonetheless, owing to these testing times, there exists a great difficulty in achieving the annual targets, he said and added that the Customs staff is however working on the forefront and putting its best possible efforts to ensure maximum business and trade facilitation within the available HR and logistics/ resources.
Replying another query he said that as regards to opening of Sust border, it’s up to the NCOC (National Command and Operation Center) of Federal Government to decide when to open it keeping in view the situation of Corona pandemic on ground. A decision in this regard i.e. whether to open the border or otherwise, may be taken in the next few days.
He said that the Customs Region (North) comprises four Collectorates i.e., Model Customs Collectorates of Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, MCC (Appraisement; Facilitation), Peshawar and MCC (Enforcement; Compliance), Peshawar covering Islamabad/Rawalpindi, the whole of the KP as well as the merged districts of erstwhile FATA.
Though, all the four Collectorates of Customs Region (North) contributed significantly towards anti-smuggling, the performance of MCC (Enforcement; Compliance), Peshawar, stood exceptional in this regard as the Collectorate seized goods worth Rs 615 million during the month of April 2020, which is Rs 199 million (48 percent) more than the seizures made during the corresponding period of the last financial year. In spite of the fact that the public transport was closed and there was no movement on roads owing to lock down announced by the federal and provincial governments. he said.
On revenue front the Chief Collector told that the Customs Region (North) collected Rs.45525 million during the first 10 months (till April 24, 2020) of the current financial year, which is Rs.5880 million (15 percent) more than the corresponding period of last financial year.
Despite the effect of COVID-19 when whole of the world is at standstill, it has been made possible by extra efforts on the part of Customs staff, posted in the region as per vision of the current government to maximize revenue collection through concerted efforts and business friendly approach despite import compression during the ongoing financial year.
Chief Collector Customs (North), Islamabad, Dr Asif Mahmood Jah attributed this achievement to Allah’s kindness besides the untiring efforts and hard work of all the officers and staff of the North Region for maintaining a strong vigilance to maximize revenue through goods clearance, conducting auctions, recovery of arrears and encashment of bank guarantees etc during these testing times under COVID-19 outbreak.
The chief collector also expressed confidence that all the officers and staff will maintain the same level of efficiency and put in their best possible efforts to continue such success in future as well.
He further emphasized upon the officers and staff to ensure strict discipline, adopt austerity measures, honesty and unflinching enforcement of laws for the economic uplift of the country as per vision of the government.