KARACHI: Governor Sindh Imran Ismail on Wednesday urged the Pakistan Customs to resolve litigation issues and release around 8000 containers, stuck at ports for years.


Speaking at a ceremony organized by the Pakistan Customs to observe the International Customs Day, he said that the containers rent has exorbitantly increased due to its shortage during Covid-19, hurting the international trade badly.


He, therefore, requested the Pakistan Customs to look into the matter and release around 8,000 containers stuck at ports to facilitate the business community. He said that the country had witnessed 5.37 percent growth with US 346.46 billion dollars GDP in 2021 and hoped that the growth graph would go up further in the current year.


He said that the measures taken by the incumbent government during the pandemic especially smart lockdowns, relief packages, etc have become the case study for the world.


Expressing his gratitude to the Pakistan Customs for organizing an impressive event, he said that there was a menace of corruption in the Customs department but they worked hard to contribute to the national exchequer.


While appreciating the participation of women in the Customs, he said that Pakistan Single Window (PSW) and internally developed clearance systems were in need of an hour to implement international practices and to reduce human interaction in the customs clearance process and added that the performance of Pakistan customs with around 3000 workforce was laudable.


Meanwhile, Abdul Qadir Memon, Chief Collector Customs said that the World Bank was of the view that the business cost was reduced by 20 percent after complete trade facilitation and they were ensuring trade facilitation without compromise on revenue.


He said that presently 95 percent of international trade was being handled through a web-based clearance system and 56 percent of import consignments and 80 percent of export consignments were released without physical examination.


Chief collector said that scanners and other equipment were being installed at international trade routes and PSM would be integrated with 50 other departmental systems to explore maximum potential from cross border trade.


He said that the contribution of Pakistan Customs in total revenue was around 55 percent but its budget was equivalent to 0.2 percent of its total revenue collection, which was supposed to be 2.5 percent of its total collection as per international practice.


He said that the Pakistan customs had generated Rs 5.8 billion through its anti-smuggling drive and established National Targeting Centre (NTC) to counter smuggling, which worked as fuel for the terrorist activities in the country and added that NTC was being integrated with other law enforcement agencies to deal with the menace of money laundering and smuggling in an effective manner.


There are fears that Afghanistan would become an international hub for illegal arms and drugs hence international community should pay heed to the welfare of Afghans.


Similarly, unending restrictions on Iran have also caused the smuggling of different products within the country but Pakistan customs is well prepared to tackle all these challenges.


Furthermore, he said that Customs Excellence Training Centre had also been established in Islamabad for the development of its human resources.


In his welcome note, Feroze Alam Junejo, Collector Enforcement said that the purpose to observe World Customs Day was to acknowledge the services and sacrifices of the customs officials while performing their duties for the country.


DG Major General Iftikhar Chaudary DG Rangers Sindh, DG coast guard, foreign diplomats, and others attended the event.


Source: Business Recorder – Jan 27, 2022