KARACHI: Pakistan Customs Directorate of Customs Valuation Director General Samaira Nazir Khan has said that Directorate of Customs Valuation was trying its best to facilitate the commercial importers and, despite limited resources and workforce, the directorate was striving hard to quickly resolve various issues pertaining to valuation rulings being faced by the business community of Karachi.
In this regard, a request for enhancement of workforce and resources has already been sent to Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) with a view to timely resolve pending cases and improve efficiency of the Directorate, she added.
Speaking at a meeting during her visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Samaira Nazir Khan sought Karachi Chamber’s advice on assessing realistic valuation rulings and also assured to look into various cases of high valuation rulings being highlighted from KCCI’s platform.
Additional Director Customs Valuation, Iqbal Muneeb, President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Chairman Customs, Valuation, Import and Anti-Smuggling Sub-Committee, Azhar Wasimpuri, Former President KCCI, Haroon Agar and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present on the occasion.
Samaira Nazir Khan was of the opinion that valuation rulings should not be raised to a level where smuggling nurtures and these rulings should also not be reduced to a level where local manufacturers suffer.
Responding to various concerns raised by the meeting participants, she claimed that Customs Valuation Department was not operating under the influence of manufacturers and the doors of Directorate of Customs Valuation were open for commercial importers as well who face issues due to any valuation rulings.
In response to business community’s apprehensions over unnecessary delays being caused by Directorate Customs Valuations resulting in raising the cost of imported goods due to heavy demurrage and detention charges, she clarified that it was a wrong impression that delays were deliberately being caused by the Directorate only as every possible effort was being made to settle various cases as early as possible but the Directorate has to ensure that the entire procedure completes under the rules which sometimes result in delaying some cases.
Commenting on various contentions pertaining to surveying leading store of the city only for assessing valuation rulings of imported goods, Samaira Nazir stated that the directorate was not just surveying leading stores but also thoroughly examines prices of imported products being sold at various wholesale markets of the city including Jodia Bazar and Juna Market etc.
Earlier while welcoming the DG Customs Valuation, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra said that Karachi Chamber has been vocally raising its voice against the unjust valuation rulings being suffered by the members of the business community.
He was of the view that high valuation rulings were being issued in connivance of the manufacturers whereas the commercial importers, who are the major stakeholders, were not being taken on board during the evaluation process which creates many issues, of which the most serious issues include severe losses to national exchequer, under-invoicing and smuggling.
Manufacturers try their best to ensure valuation rulings of imported items remain high, which results in terribly affecting the local trade while the national exchequer suffers badly as the unscrupulous elements take advantage of the situation by acquiring imported goods from illegal means which were being sold in the local market at much cheaper rates, he added.
Underscoring the need to make the process of formulating valuation rulings more transparent and in line with market scenario, President KCCI said that he was finding it very hard to understand the policies of Customs Valuation Directorate, which not only result in unnecessary delays but were also responsible for losses being suffered by the traders and the economy.
Citing various examples of unrealistic and high valuation rulings, he said that because of higher valuation rulings, the commercial importers of various products were unable to pass on the benefits of descending international prices to end-users, which was the key reason why common man continues to suffer the inflation.
President KCCI suggested that prior to finalizing and issuing various Valuation Rulings, Customs Valuation Department must consult with Chairman of Customs, Valuation, Imports and Anti-Smuggling of Karachi Chamber so that KCCI, which represents more than 21,000 direct members, could give its input on Valuation Rulings with a view to save traders and the national exchequer from losses.
Senior Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi also stressed the need to issue valuation rulings in consultation with the business community in order to ensure that a level playing field is provided to everyone and nobody suffers.