ISLAMABAD: The recent unearthing of mega smuggling scams via Green Channel facility has stirred a debate at higher level in the Federal Board of Revenue for further improvement in the system to check smuggling in liaison with the corrupt officials.
A source at FBR told Customs Today that concerned officials of FBR at the most relevant wings and departments were of the view that system should be further improved because there often remained a room for improvement in the man-made systems.
The source said that Green Channel facility under ‘One Customs Clearance System’ was almost best in the South Asian region, but some elements reportedly abused this facility; therefore, this system needed to be galvanized for national benefit. Actually, the facility was designed for the importers covered under the “List of Active Taxpayers”.
According to source, the FBR had given an advantage to the persons covered under the List of Active Taxpayers. These importers enjoyed speedy clearance facility of Green Channel. However, the non-active taxpayers had been restrained from availing of the Green Channel facility. Express-lane facility is a speedy clearance facility available to the importers under One Customs system. The inactive taxpayers are no more allowed to clear their imported consignments under the Green Channel facility.
Under the arrangement, the source said that whenever goods declaration (GD) had been filed by non-active taxpayer, an alert was displayed at the computers of the customs clearance department that to avail uninterrupted imports and exports clearance. To become an active taxpayer is very easy, you have to be consistently compliant in regularly filing income tax returns, ST&FE returns, withholding tax statements, timely paying taxes and responding to the legal notices.
It is pertinent to mention here that Customs Today reportedly extensively that a few senior Customs officials are involved in unscrupulous activities customs clearance cell as allowed smugglers to throw their smuggled goods in the markets after getting clearance through Green Channel under protection of a few Customs officials.
They cleared these illegal or banned goods by declaring as scrap and caused more than Rs1,000 billion loss to national exchequer as revenue through legal imports is decreasing.
It is worthy to mention here that the chief justice has taken notice on a complaint accompanied by an appeal published in Customs Today about Rs 1000 billion mega scam of green channel illegal clearances.
Customs Today has been reporting on abuse of green channel since past many years. Mega brands like Mobilink and QMobile were reported to be grossly abusing Green Channel facility with connivance of Customs staff. Customs Today exposed mega smuggling scam of Digicom Company (Q-Mobile) as the company cleared more than 750 containers through green channel.
Customs Today also published investigative reports about changing of strategies by green channel smugglers as they started clearing illegal goods through yellow channel & TP.