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LAHORE: Customs officials failed to deny concessionary rate of duty to a state-owned entity (SOE), said sources.

According to details, a state-owned entity imported consignments of Procurement Installation Testing and Commissioning of Wireless Loop Systems on turnkey basis. The company also filed Goods Declaration while claiming the benefit of the concessionary rate of customs duty under the relevant SRO.

However, the customs officials cleared the imported equipment on payment of the standard customs duty instead of the concessionary rate. It was followed by the filing of refund claim against the over-paid customs duty.

Sources said the department declined the refund claim on the ground that the condition for availing concessionary rate was not fulfilled at the time of clearance and the SOE had paid standard duty without any protest.

Furthermore, the department maintained that the SOE was unable to rebut the presumption of passing on the incidence of the paid customs duty to its consumers.

The SOE, on the other hand, agitated that the provisions of law, followed by the department, were not in force at the time of import of the equipment in dispute as well as at the time of making refund claims.

Also, the state-owned company maintained that it did not pass on the incidence of the excess customs duty as the imported equipment were installed and used in its own projects of telecommunication services instead of further selling of the goods to any third party/ buyer.

Sources said the customs officials also declined to entertain the certificate issued by the facilitation committee of the Board of Investment that the imported goods are not manufactured locally. Meanwhile, the concerned authority also issued No Objection Certificate in favour of the company regarding the import of the equipment.

According to sources, the customs officials rejected these certificates not on the ground of invalidity but for the reason that the same were not produced at the time of filing of GDs and the refund claims.

But the SOE was of the view that it had produced these certificates as and when directed by the concerned authority, a view which was upheld by at the adjudication stage and the department was directed to refund the claim.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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