KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has finalised online reconciliation for cargo cleared under Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) to prevent pilferage of goods inside Pakistan, official sources said on Wednesday.
The online system for consignment clearance meant for Afghanistan will be ready in the next few days subjected to approval from Directorate of Afghan Transit Trade, a department of Pakistan Customs, a senior customs official said on condition not to be named. At present, all the consignments of Afghan Transit are cleared under One-Custom – which is a manual system. The reconciliation under the manual system has witnessed loopholes and heavily incurred losses to the economy.
The imports for local consumptions are almost switched to online clearance system. The cargo under relief goods for Nato and Isaf also gets clearance through online system. However, the reverse cargo of Nato/Isaf is still cleared under manual system and Customs authorities are hopeful to bring this clearance under an automated system by early next month.
A meeting chaired by Tariq Bajwa, chairman of Federal Board of Revenue held last month, reviewed the progress of WeBOC (Web Based One Customs), especially for the consignments imported for transit. The meeting decided that the revenue board would develop an end to end electronically integrated system incorporating features for swift clearances without compromising on integrity and security of cargo for transit trade clearance.
The customs sources said the entire journey of containers meant for Afghanistan would be monitored till the port of exit i.e. Peshawar—Torkham border. The sources said the port of exit will confirm the arrival of consignments after checking all mandatory requirements, ensuring the seal is intact.
The sources also informed that the commerce ministry of Afghanistan had agreed to provide details of Afghani importers engaged in transit trade for creating their user IDs for clearance of goods.
Several reports have been released time to time indicating the losses to the national economy and local manufacturing due to transit trade.
It has been witnessed that several items imported under ATT were never consumed in Afghanistan and found their ways in Pakistan’s markets.
The Federal Tax Ombudsman in a report presented before the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Isaf Missing Containers estimated loss of Rs19 billion in 7,922 missing containers.
The FTO also criticised the manual system, stating the record keeping of paper documents is cumbersome. “Each paper document in Customs has about 34 signatures and 62 verifications.
No wonder that fixing responsibility is so hard; officials facing inquiries find it convenient to deny their own signatures,” the report said.
Source: The NEWS