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Facilitating businessmen top priority of Appraisement Collectorate : Fareed Iqbal Qureshi

Facilitating businessmen top priority of Appraisement Collectorate : Fareed Iqbal Qureshi

LAHORE: Chief Collector Customs Appraisement Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi has said that facilitating the business community is top priority of the Collectorate, while customs appraisement has worked hard to ensure minimum time in clearance of goods and articles and easy registration of the firms.

He expressed these views during meeting with LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar on Wednesday.  Collector Customs Appraisement Mohsin Rafiq was also present during the meeting.

Convener Standing Committee on Imports & Customs Affairs Muhammad Arshad Bhatti, former Vice President Zeshan Khalil and others were present on the occasion.

Various issues including customs, WeBOC User ID Registration, facilitation to the business community, establishment of Help Desk, undue GD filing and harassment to the businessmen came under discussion.

The Chief Collector said that facilitating the business community is top priority of the Collectorate. He said that customs appraisement has worked hard to ensure minimum time in clearance of goods and articles and easy registration of the firms.

He added that human interference due to the proper implementation of WeBOC has been reduced significantly thereby reducing the cost of doing business.

Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi assured his full cooperation to the members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He said that forth-nightly meetings would be held with the LCCI office-bearers to address the issues of its members in a winsome manner.

LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that customs department and the business community have to work closely with each other for carrying out business activity. He said that any action taken by your staff should not be anti-business.

The LCCI President said that importers are facing various problems while transporting imported goods from the ports to their warehouses as they are frequently stopped by Custom personnel on various check points during transit. He said that consignments once cleared by Customs authorities should not be checked time and again while moving up country.

He said that unnecessary delays in clearance of goods on part of Customs Department should be minimized to save businesses from incurring financial losses. The government should take steps to control smuggling at the borders. The Frontier Core deployed there should be equipped with state of the art technology equipments and should be made more vigilant. They should be advised and educated to play their role in controlling smuggling by exercising their authority under Customs Act.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said it is the routine practice of Customs officials to raid at godowns and confiscate the goods/consignments without giving the appropriate time which creates lot harassment among the business community. In this regard it is requested to give at least three days to the importers so that they could provide the necessary documentary evidence to justify themselves.

“Our members complain that sometimes their shipments are assessed for valuation on retail price of imported commodities which is higher than the whole sale price. The Customs officials must understand that containers are booked in bulk and cut-rate prices are mentioned in import documents”, the LCCI President added.

He said that valuation officers apply different parameters while assessing the valuation of separate import consignments containing similar items. This results in lack of uniformity and we are of the view that this issue has to be addressed on priority basis.

Moreover, input from the importers of upcountry areas should also be sought and the same should be communicated to DG Valuation Karachi for implementation of the same in true spirit.

LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar said that the consignment containing uniform packing should only be inspected and not to be examined/de-stuffed as per the practice already going on in Karachi port. Additional charges at Lahore ports are also causing problems for importers that should be waived off to discourage such valuation done at Karachi port. He said that In bonded warehouses, the customs officials raise undue objections that cause harassment among the industrialists which should be stopped in the larger interest of business community.

Muhammad Arshad Bhatti said that Customs Department should amend WeBOC as only a few options are available in the system if any changes / modifications are required to be made to make it user friendly.

He said that Customs Officials deputed at Airports should act as facilitators rather than causing unnecessary problems for the importers and exporters.