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FBR seeks powers to bind BMP to assist Customs to eradicate smuggling

FBR seeks powers to bind BMP to assist Customs to eradicate smuggling

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sought powers to legally bind the Border Military Police (BMP) operating in DG Khan and Rajanpur to assist the Pakistan’s Customs in checking smuggling.

Under Finance Bill 2020-21 tabled in Parliament, the FBR has sought an amendment to Section 7 of Customs Act to legally bind the BMP operating in DG Khan and Rajanpur to assist the Pakistan Customs in discharge their official functions.

The Finance Bill 2020 has proposed an amendment to Section 7 of the Customs Act for binding BMP in order to take action against smugglers in an effective manner.

The Customs lacks proper workforce to undertake anti-smuggling drive so it is now binding other border forces to assist its officials in curbing increasing smuggling causing heavy losses to the national exchequer.

Under the Customs Act’s Clause 3(11) (a), the FBR seeks to substitute clause 8(i) of Section 156(1) to rationalize punishments for smuggling of goods in a cascading manner and to make them consistent with the COVID-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance, 2020.

Under the Customs Act’s Clause 3(11) (b), the FBR seeks to substitute clause 8(iii) of section 156(1) to specifically prescribe punishments for smuggling of currency, gold and other precious metals and stones in any form, with the intent of smuggling, commensurate with the COVID-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance, 2020.

Under Clause 3(12) (a) of the Customs Act, the FBR seeks to amend Section 179 to decrease the time limit for adjudicating cases of smuggling under Section 2(s) from 90 to 30 days to make them consistent with the COVID-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance, 2020.

Under Clause 3(13) of Customs Act, the FBR seeks to amend Section 187 to enable customs authorities to proceed against the properties, acquired by a person in his own name or in the name of someone else, by the proceeds of smuggling and also to make him liable to prove evidence of the lawful possession of such properties.

The Clause 3(14) of customs act, the FBR seeks to amend Section 194B to decrease the time for deciding appeals in cases of smuggling under section 2(s) from sixty to thirty days for their expeditious disposal.

On the recommendation of National Tariff Commission (NTC), Finance Bill has clarified that repayment of duty and taxes includes additional customs duty, regulatory duty or special customs duty, whatever the case may be.

The finance bill seeks to amend Section 2 (s) of the Customs Act to include transportation, storage and safekeeping of smuggled goods in the definition of smuggling to render it more comprehensive.

The government has also proposed amendment in the Customs Act to differentiate general passengers or crew at the airport making false declaration or who fail to declare from unscrupulous elements with intent of smuggling.