Anti-smuggling measures in sight – Journal

ISLAMABAD: The government has finalized a series of proposals to facilitate small businesses and introduce severe penalties to improve enforcement of smuggling and under-invoicing in the next budget.

In a major move to launch a crackdown on contraband goods, it has been proposed to introduce penalties that will be imposed on retailers who sell contraband goods to consumers without documentation of imported goods.

Official sources told Dawn that the sanctions will help control sales of contraband goods. The maximum sanction for retailers could include forfeiture of the store. This penalty will be incorporated into the Customs Act.

In 2019, FBR field formations have already raided some large retailers in major cities across the country to verify documents for imported goods. However, this app campaign was halted because it was not fully supported legally at the time.

The government is also finalizing a proposal to make the invoice mandatory for the customs clearance of imported goods. The proposed penalty for missing invoices will vary from 100,000 to 1 million rupees. It could also cause the user ID to be suspended.

Following this decision, importers will make arrangements with their foreign exporters to ensure that the invoice and packing list are kept inside import containers. This will help control the threat of under-invoicing.

It has been proposed to rightly confiscate a vehicle if used three times in the transport of contraband goods. Currently, the seized vehicle as well as the contraband goods are released after payment of penalties. However, it has been proposed that such vehicles if seized three times could lead to its complete confiscation.

The government recently introduced an advance ruling for the cross-border movement of goods under the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The decision was authorized for one year. However, it has been proposed to extend its duration to three years in accordance with international standards.

As part of the facilitation measures, it was proposed to introduce the concept of a common bonded warehouse, which will meet the needs of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Currently, public and private bonded warehouses are available in the country.

One of the main facilities will be that the government will tie the adjudication and the final decision in ports, dry ports and airports within 30 days. This will make it easier for traders and the general public to eliminate their cases.

In addition, it was also proposed that license holders should now be provided with full-time explanations to clarify their position. As a result, licenses will no longer be suspended unilaterally.

In the 2021-2022 budget, the government also proposed several customs measures to facilitate exporters and importers.

Posted in Dawn, June 9, 2021


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