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Business

July 11, 2018

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Minister stresses border controls to curb currency smuggling

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar on Tuesday stressed improvement in border controls through cooperation between customs and other agencies to curb currency smuggling.

“Customs and other agencies need to work together to improve border controls,” Shamshad Akhtar said at a meeting to discuss measures against cross-border illegal transportation / smuggling of currency.

“Effective internal cooperation is essential in order to effectively control the problem.” The minister emphasised need to put in collective efforts to check currency smuggling through borders to control terrorism and other criminal activities, as part of steps to check terror financing and menace of money laundering.

Pakistan managed to avert being black-listed by the Financial Action Task Force last month in close shave, but the country was put on the grey-list of the global financial watchdog for its flawed standards related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

Shamshad Akhtar highlighted the areas for immediate focus to check cross border illegal transportation of currency. “It is important that authorities properly identify and understand the nature of risks of cash couriers that are being used for terror financing,” she said in a statement. “There is need for further strengthening the currency/bearer instruments declaration/seizure regime at all ports of entry by applying effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions when there are instances of false declaration/failure to declare and currency smuggling.”

Finance minister stressed effective implementation of the integrated database for monitoring and enforcing SBP’s currency regulation regime at all ports of entry. She said authorities at the border points should enhance the coordination and cooperation by sharing information on currency smuggling.

The meeting expressed consensus on physical and technological up-gradation of systems, in line with the international standards, at all ports and other check points along the borders. The meeting was told that legal provisions to check currency smuggling and bring to book those involved in the crime were in place. However, effective implementation and further consolidation in this area should be enhanced.

The meeting also emphasised close coordination among agencies / institutions concerned at airports and border check points for effective control of currency smuggling. There was also emphasis on ensuring currency declarations by passengers on all incoming and outbound flights besides scanning of passengers’ belongings.

The minister directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for immediate assessment of the legal regulatory deficiencies as well as tools, instruments and equipment required to put in place checks and controls at ports, entry/exit points to curb illegal currency transportation / smuggling.

She said checking currency smuggling would ultimately help the cause of curbing terror financing and money laundering. Senior officials of ministries of finance, interior and foreign affairs and concerned departments including FBR, Federal Investigation Agency, Financial Monitoring Unit, Frontier Corps Balochistan and others attended the meeting.

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