October 7, 2021: Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President FPCCI, has welcomed the visit of Mr. Abdul Qadir Memon, Chief Collector Customs Enforcement and Compliance to FPCCI Head Office and commended his efforts aimed at alleviating concerns of trade and industry.
Mr. Hanif Lakhany, VP FPCCI, said that the export-oriented industries are looking towards the customs department for more facilitation at sea and airports as customs has the most important role at the final stage of shipment to overseas customers to achieve noticeable growth in exports.
Customs are doing their best effort; but, improvement is still needed like 24/7 airport customs and more use of IT applications, adequate staffing, and arrangements with terminal operators on airports. Airports have become as pivotal in shipments as seaports in the post-pandemic era; and, regionally and globally our competitors are benefitting from 24/7 customs and shipment facilities on airports, he added.
Mr. Shabbir Mansha Churra, Convener FPCCI’s Standing Committee on Customs, said that globally SMEs and traders have been given support packages to ward off adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; but, in Pakistan, we are being subjected to even more hardships through various customs and tax notices and inquiries. He pointed out that traders have to go through unnecessary and multiple check posts; even after getting cleared at ports and borders. He also informed the high-ranking customs officials that FPCCI has letters from airport terminal operators that they are willing and ready to expand the operating hours and customs officials should look into it. He further added that WeBOC needs to be more effective and lesser containers should be opened for physical examinations.
Answering the questions and concerns, Mr. Abdul Qadir Memon, said that currently 80% of containers are being cleared by WeBOC through scanners; only, 20% are cleared manually and only 8% are opened for physical inspection. He added that the customs department is aiming to enhance this rate of digital and automated clearance through WeBOC to 90% within the span of the next year.
Chief Collector also announced, amid thundering applause, that he has directed the customs check posts in upcountry to do away with the practice of stopping shipping containers for inspections; except, when there is an intelligence-based input of some wrongdoing.
FPCCI is looking forward to host the Chief Collector of Customs again in the coming weeks to raise the remaining issues, create awareness and have a follow-up on the progress made on the promised facilitative steps to the business community.