Customs to now check cargo weights for exact declaration of imports
According to a conservative estimate, the under-invoicing causes damage of five billion dollars a year.
Pakistan Customs has sent out directives to terminal operators to ensure the exact weight logging of import containers that are being handled at ports. The step is being taken to countercheck the misdeclaration of imports and cross price-checking. The authorities say that dodgy logging of cargo weights causes hefty losses to the national exchequer.
As reported by The News, The Directorate of Risk Management of Pakistan Customs has sent instructions to all terminal operators relating to the mandatory recording of the weight of all types and categories of import containers.
According to the sources, the report said that in the past, the containers’ terminals were mandated to record the weight of goods that were cleared under Afghan transit trade and transshipment. But it could not provide an effective remedy to the issue of misdeclaration of imports, particularly those that are cleared under the green channel. So a number of items were allowed to be declared ‘clear’ based on the weight of goods.
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi has previously, on several occasions, highlighted the steps that the government is taking to provide an effective remedy to menaces of smuggling, under-invoicing, and the abuse of transit trade – which has increased with a dramatically concerning 44% to 93,732 containers during the last financial year of 2018/19.
How much is the damage?
According to a conservative estimate, the under-invoicing causes damage of five billion dollars a year. Combined with smuggling, illegal practices cause significant damage to the tax revenue.
“The weight of all import containers should be recorded as this information is deemed vital for various risk management parameters,” the customs directorate has said in a statement.
Pakistan Customs is working to improve its monitoring of goods capability and has directed the terminal operators to cross-check the weight at the ‘gate out’ stage. The terminal operations will then provide data to Customs authorities for cross-verification.
Terminal operators and off-dock terminals have been asked to ensure that not a single import container should be allowed to proceed unless it is duly recorded and updated on Web-based One Customs.
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