LAHORE: Customs Collectorate Appraisement recorded 22 percent growth which is higher than the national growth of revenue. The customs duty collection of the Collectoarte shoots up 36 percent per annum.
Collector Customs Appraisement Muhammad Jamil Nasir claimed this during an exclusive interview with Customs Today.
“Interestingly, overall growth of duties and taxes has increased by 28 percent at three dry ports in the city of Lahore which is lurking at nearly 8 percent countrywide,” he added. He said tackling a situation arising out of the imposition of 0.9 percent infrastructure road cess by the government of Punjab in 2016 proved to be a tipping point of achieving such an outstanding revenue growth.
He pointed out that achievement of revenue target and tackling the issue of 0.9 percent infrastructure road cess were two major issues when he took charge as collector. “Manufacturers and importers were objecting to the cess, pleading that it was adding to their cost of business in Punjab as no such cess is being charged at the Karachi Port.”
He said this situation created disincentive for manufacturers and importers and they started preferring the Karachi Port. “Retaining business was a real challenge when I took charge at Mughalpura Dry Port in 2017. The cess was imposed in 2016 and its trickle-down effect started irritating importers gradually,” he said.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), on the other hand, was demanding more revenue by the end of every fiscal year. He introduced the idea of trade facilitation to compensate the impact of 0.9 percent cess through speedy clearances and abolition of informal payments to the customs staff at dry ports. He said right person for the right job strategy was adopted to meet the purpose.
Meanwhile, new induction of staff made through Federal Public Service Commission, and Jamil appointed them on key positions despite resistance. A post verification cell was set up to control any compromise on duties and taxes as newcomers were not well-versed with the assessment process.
He further mentioned that all the Collectorates at three dry ports, including Mughalpura Dry Port, Thokar Niaz Baig Dry Port and Prem Nagar Dry Port have become corruption-free. Not a single informal payment is made on these ports which was very normal in the past, he said adding that the FBR supported him in this respect that led to success of this at dry ports.