Dutiable imports below target: Bajwa
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman, Tariq Bajwa, said on Sunday that dutiable imports recorded around 2.5 percent growth rate, despite devaluation of rupee, during first half of the current fiscal year. Talking to media after hoisting the national flag and addressing a ceremony on the eve of World Customs Day, here at Customs House, he added that this growth rate was below our set target.
Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014
Tariq Bajwa elaborated that the less growth was mainly due to high percentage of non-dutiable imports, citing that 66 percent of the imports were non-dutiable because of FTAs (Free Trade Agreements), PTAs (Preferential Trade Agreements) and zero rating.
Only 34 percent imports were being levied and their statistics had shown only two percent of growth in terms of rupee that was why the growth in Customs target was yet to be achieved, he said and added that efforts were well underway to achieve this target within remaining six months of the current fiscal year.
Any country, intending to use Pakistan as transit route, would definitely assess the time factors as the much time is consumed in cargo handling/clearing at our Customs border stations that adds to their overall business cost, he responded to a reporter's query.
"Time is money; if a goods vehicle strands for three days, it definitely increases the truck fare, its crew expenditures and other factors cost the total business a lot," he observed.
Now, Pakistan was in a direct competition for transit trade instead of having a monopoly, and under the Prime Minister's vision of turning Pakistan into a trade and transit hub, he said, it was direly needed to upgrade our borders Customs stations for speedy and efficient clearance of transit goods.
To a question about ratio of tax evasion, the FBR Chairman said the Board had managed to decrease this trend, as this fiscal year, a total of 890,000 taxpayers submitted their tax returns against the 711,000 during last financial year.
To another question, he said that Pakistan Customs Chief Collector had recently visited India to improve and share the Customs communication, as India wanted to utilise the Wagah border trade facility to its optimum level, however, in this matter the Commerce Ministry had a lead role and the FBR/Customs had to facilitate them.
Bajwa said the Board was also focusing on intra and inter-departmental communication and proper liaison, which was a prerequisite to improve substantially their efficiency and performance.
To a query, he said the FBR was working on to improving recoveries from the existing tax sectors to enhance revenue collection. Earlier, addressing the Customs officers, he underscored the need for putting in order effective and stringent measures to curb under- invoicing and smuggling, citing that it would definitely help create a breathing space for the local industry.
He said that Customs was eminent in the collection of revenues that made the country's economic indicators healthier and ultimately led to country's progress and prosperity. At the end, the FBR Chairman gave away appreciation certificates to the Customs officials having shown remarkable performance.