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November 12, 2015

FBR launches reforms in Customs department


November 12, 2015

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched mega reforms in Pakistan Customs to root out corruption and realise collection of duty and taxes in transparent manner.
The FBR on Wednesday issued key performance indicators (KPI) and job description of customs officers of BS-17 to BS-21 and linked them to their performance evaluation reports (PERs) – basic requirements for future promotions and annual rewards.
The FBR separately defined the job descriptions of each rank. For the chief collector, the KPI is 100 percent for integrity management. The officer in the cadre is required to ensure transparency in working and minimise interaction of customs functionaries with traders.
“[There will be] prompt disciplinary action to root out malpractices,” said the FBR.
The chief collector is required to report the FBR about the delinquent officials in Pakistan Customs.
“Periodic review of business processes to ensure transparency by curtailing undue interaction with trade and minimise unnecessary delays,” the FBR said in the job description for chief collectors.
Regarding discipline in the Pakistan customs, the tax authority asked the chief collector to ensure attendance of all customs officials and officers at 9:00 AM.
Tax Reform Commission (TRC), in its report in May 2015, strongly criticised the working of Pakistan Customs, saying approximately 400 to 550 goods declarations are filed in a day, which can easily be cleared the same day as per the 24/7 slogan of the Customs.
The examining officer, appraising officer, principal appraiser, assistant collector and deputy collector remain in the office from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM, the report said
“They remain busy in exchange of greetings upon their arrival in offices for about 90 minutes. Thereafter, tea time, meeting time, visitors’ time, lunch time, evening tea and then the office time is over,” TRC report said.
The chief collectors will be responsible for

ensuring revenue collections against target set by FBR in customs, sales tax, federal excise duty and withholding tax.
In the case of chief collector (South), the officer is required to ensure redressal of the issues of trade and industry within five working days.
The chief collector enforcement (North) is also required to follow similar job description besides taking anti-smuggling measures and ensuring revenue collection on such detection.
The officer is required to conduct monthly meetings regarding anti-smuggling measures with the stakeholders, including Anti-Narcotic Force, Coast Guards and Police.
The collectors of respective customs stations are also required to follow the guidelines with additional responsibilities of ensuring revenue collection through administrative measures and arrears.
The job description of collector preventive includes detection of contrabands and passenger facilitation.
The reforms in Pakistan customs are much needed as it is reported that the area of unethical practices in this department is very wide and modalities are quite creative at times.
TRC, in its report, said one government administration that is particularly susceptible to corrupt practices is a country’s customs authority. “In Pakistan, there is a general perception of significant corrupt practices in Customs,” it added.

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