ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa has said that a project directorate on the Integrated Transit Trade Management System at FBR headquarters is established to provide a solo-point of contact for development partners, tax management and other stakeholders for smooth implementation of the project.
He said this while addressing a conference on Integrated Transit Trade Management. He said that four major things have emerged from the discussions and brainstorming during the conference. Firstly, he said, support and willingness of the donors and development partners has been witnessed which he appreciated.
Secondly, he said, the conference has given a very clear message that the lead role in the integrated transit trade management would be of FBR. The Board has a major role in the management of transit trade and its lead would be taken by the Customs authorities.
Thirdly, he said, an inter-ministerial co-ordination committee would be established for smooth implementation of the proposed system. The main office of the committee would be established at FBR House and head of the inter-ministerial co-ordination committee would be FBR Chairman.
Fourthly, he said, a project directorate is immediately needed to ensure timely implementation of the proposed system. In this regard, FBR would make directorate functional immediately.
On the conclusion of the conference, FBR will develop a paper on the ‘Integrated Transit Trade Management System’ and present it to the government for approval, he maintained. He said the FBR wanted to ensure digital mapping of documents filed by the importers and exporters to ensure comparison of the cargo details at the time of entry and exit. Through cargo scanning, the Customs department would be able to electronically transmit its images from entry to exit Collectorates. In this regard digital mapping of the documents is necessary for comparison of the transit cargo.
Supporting the establishment of Joint Border Customs Stations, Tariq Bajwa stated that such stations would be instrumental in checking smuggling of goods across the border. The implementation of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connectivity and its effective utilisation would expedite clearance of the transit goods destined to Afghanistan. The EDI with Afghanistan has been developed by FBR. About the role of the Customs in anti-smuggling, FBR Chairman said that the lead anti-smuggling agency is Customs department.
However, other law enforcement agencies are being given anti-smuggling powers in view of proper workforce and infrastructure.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the FBR Chairman said the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan is evident from the map, linking Pakistani borders with India, Afghanistan, Iran and China. Beside, customs department a number of agencies and government departments including Ministry of Commerce are working for related projects. Referring to the border Customs stations, he said that we mostly work with manual processes which compromise our efforts to expedite clearance of transit trade. This also adds to the cost of doing business of importers and exporters.
The stand-alone projects are also not contributing in speedy movement of transit goods. The FBR is now developing a vision and a holistic plan to ensure speedy movement of goods and transport through Pakistan. An in-house plan has been devised for the implementation of the transit management system.