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Misuse of green channel facility at Port Qasim causing losses to national exchequer: Shinwari

Misuse of green channel facility at Port Qasim causing losses to national exchequer: Shinwari

PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI) President Zahid Ullah Shinwari has alleged that some importers use green channel facility in cahoots with customs officials to avoid taxes and duties.

Talking to Customs Today, Shinwari said that the officials who facilitate ‘smuggling’ through green channel bring bad name to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

He said that the Customs Department should take serious notice of the clearance of contraband items through green channel which could affect the genuine importers.

On a question whether any corruption mafia is active in the FBR, Shinwari said that the seizure of a few containers by the customs authorities lend credence to the suspicions that some black sheep in the Customs Department are causing losses to the national exchequer.

The Customs Department was established to facilitate trade and discourage smuggling, and its main task was to discourage the attempts of tax evasion, he said.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari said that new drive of membership has been started at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries in which SCCI has proposed proper use of customs tools applied to carry out business at the region. SCCI made mandatory for importers to be registered with WeBOC service.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari further said that through Bacha Khan International Airport mostly air trade is done with Middle East and Europe. Major imports are cloth, electronics and technical instruments.

After lot of complaints about corruption at Port Qasim, the importers of Peshawar are concerned to recheck the registered list of importers on WeBOC service to remove the doubts in minds of importers about the smuggling made through green channel which intern is a serious crime against genuine trade.

In Peshawar WeBOC service has been operated and 50 new importers had also been registered in last six months which showed that government needed to spend resources to facilitate trading through digital means because importers are in favor of using them.

The President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries added in response of a question that after big scams of corruption unearthed at Port Qasim, customs department needs to recheck the consignment clearance data in order to curb the menace of smuggling.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari went on saying that the importers needs to show full trust in WeBOC service for clearance of consignments because its need of the time to use digital tools in order establish customs laws for fruitful results.

The President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce informed Customs Today that in 2015 after introduction of WeBOC service it has now become easy to import goods from Europe and America due to smoothness in customs clearance rules.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari added that the importers of used cars also worried about delay of cars at Port Qasim which also have cause loss of millions rupees to the national exchequer.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari elaborated that Iran earlier offered to establish similar facilities on border with Iran in order organize the trade policies.

Zahid Ullah Shinwari expresses that customs department needs to soon sought out the case of clearance of contra bonded goods through green channel and now Federal Investigative Agency has also been directed to plunge in to investigation of fraud scam.

These efforts also might be done to discourage use of modern tools of international standards for clearance of goods as Pakistan have becoming a hub for foreign investments.

In order to defame the customs department black sheep might have used propaganda tools in order to find space for them to carry out corruption which in term is beneficial for their personal interests.

Zahid ullah Shinwari further said that government needs to take serious actions against the officials involved in causing defection to the whole of customs department.

Green channels must not be left to be used as safe ports for transfer of contra bonded goods the SCCI President added and according to information certain domestic ports are also considered safe for smuggling the illegal goods.