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Customs Agents strike: Economy to suffer Rs 10b loss per day

Customs Agents strike: Economy to suffer Rs 10b loss per day

KARACHI: The national economy will suffer a loss of around Rs10 billion per day, owing to the countrywide indefinite strike called by All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) and Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) against the issuance of more than 1100 Order-in-Original (ONO) against the Customs Agents in Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) scam.

President KCAA Saifullah Khan and Chairman APCAA Syed Shams Burney in a joint press conference along with other office-bearers at Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Friday had announced the countrywide strike for indefinite period. The transporters’ bodies have also backed the strike call of Customs agents.

Sources in Customs Department told Customs Today that around 2000 GDs (Goods Declaration) of Import and Export are filed every day in which 1200 GDs of Import and around 600-800 GDs of Export are filed every day, which makes up the revenue of around Rs 10 billion per day.

In this regard, a meeting of the members of KCAA and APCAA was also held at the office of the KCAA on Monday, in which the office-bearers and the members of KCAA and APCCA vowed to go on strike for indefinite period against issuance of ONOs.

President KCAA Saifullah Khan, Chairman APCAA Syed Shams Burney, General Secretary KCAA Yahya Muhammad, Senior Vice President KCAA Sagheer Ahmed, Senior Vice President Arshad Jamal and other office-bearers were also present on the occasion.

A proper strategy has also been finalised in order to launch the protest in effective manner. Nine committees of Customs agents in every sector including East Wharf, West Wharf, Port Qasim, AFU-Import, AFU-Export and others have been formed to mobilize the Customs agents for strike.

President KCAA Saifullah Khan and Chairman APCAA Syed Shams Burney told Customs Today that they will not postpone or call off strike in any circumstances, until or unless Chairman FBR and Federal Minister for Finance ensure redressal of Customs Agents grievances.

“We will only negotiate with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa the issues of releasing ONOs against Customs agents and pathetic working of WeBOC”, Saifullah Khan asserted.

To a query, President KCAA confirmed that a delegation comprising Collector had contacted for discussion, but the associations rejected their offer, as the office-bearers and the members of both the Customs agents associations wanted to hold deliberations only with Finance Minister and FRB Chairman.

Sources told Customs Today that Customs Agents have demanded reopening of ONOs against Customs agents according to the Section 195 of the Customs Act, 1969.

They further informed that a meeting of the KCAA and APCAA office-bearers was held with Chairman FBR and Member Customs in Islamabad in July, in which they were assured that no action and show-cause notices would be issued against Customs agents in ATT scam.

Sources informed that a delegation of Pakistan Customs including Collector Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Preventive Tariq Huda, Collector MCC-West Muhammad Saleem and Collector MCC Port Qasim invited a joint delegation of KCAA and APCAA comprising President KCAA Saifullah Khan, Chairman APCAA Syed Shams Burney, Senior Vice President APCAA Arshad Jamal, Zahid Qazi and others for discussions at Customs House, Karachi at 11 pm on Monday but they failed to reach consensus over the issue.