ISLAMABAD: The Gilgit-Baltistan Customs has launched various infrastructure projects for enhancement of its trade facilitation capabilities in the wake of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) operationalization from Khunjerab Border. Additionally, Collectorate GB Ali Raza is also optimizing the revenue collection despite extreme weather, inhospitable geographical conditions coupled with logistic and human resource constraints in Gilgit-Baltistan.
During Financial Year 2016-17, it not only achieved its record-high revenue collection target but also exceeded the assigned target by a whopping 161.5%, second highest among all the collectorates across Pakistan. Never in the history of Sost Dry Port, the customs collectorate previously received Rs2912billion against the allocated revenue target of Rs1803. The GB collectorate is hopeful of maintaining this healthy trend in the current Financial Year as well.
The Collector of MCC GB stated this while giving an exclusive interview to the correspondent of Customs Today.
The Collectorate of GB is playing a dynamic role as the only field formation of Pakistan Customs in Gilgit-Baltistan in order to help both Pakistan Customs and trade meet the challenges of gaining benefits from the post-CPEC trade. Outstanding among other key areas that the Collectorate is doing a groundbreaking contribution in the domain of infrastructure development. A number of projects have been launched and others are in the pipeline in this regard. These include construction of Custom House at Gilgit, construction of e-Facilitation Centre at Sost, construction of Customs Forensic Laboratory at Sost, construction of Directorate of CPEC Transit Trade Gilgit, construction of centrally-heated transit accommodation at Sost, construction of warehouses and other field formations of Pakistan Customs such as Directorate of I&I Customs, IPR and PCA and Collectorates of Customs Preventive and Exports, to name but a few.
These projects, the Collector hoped, will yield multiple dividends including year-round trade facilitation, employment generation, mainstreaming of Gilgit-Baltistan, better border management, much wider and better enforcement of Customs Act and higher revenues for the Government of Pakistan.
The collector apprised the correspondent that second workshop on WeBOC professional training to the G-B youth will help streamline the electronic cargo clearance among the trade community once the optic-fibre gets operational in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The collector revealed that land is being purchased for various customs field formations in Gilgit-Baltistan to meet the growing needs of the organizational expansion for accommodating prospective CPEC cargo traffic. The initiatives, the collector said, were appreciated by Member Customs during his recent official visit to Gilgit-Baltistan who underscored the need and importance of establishing the CPEC Transit Trade Terminal at a suitable place in Gilgit-Baltistan adjacent to Korakoram Highway (KKH).
Member Customs also instructed the authorities concerned to identify the suitable sites for construction of customs check-posts along KKH for effective monitoring and transit of the CPEC cargo in the near future. Similar check-posts and monitoring system need to be developed all along the CPEC supply-chain route from Khunjerab to Gwadar, the Member observed according to the collector.
This correspondent was apprised of the harms which can damage Pakistan’s trade and industry including Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. He also informed CT that as directed by Member Customs, a dedicated Customs Trade Facilitation Check-Post will be established at Khunjerab to handle the incoming/outgoing CPEC cargo and passengers. Preparation for necessary project documentation is underway in this regard.
The collector expressed his hope that the successful execution of various projects and initiatives of the collectorate will be a leap forward in Pakistan’s level of preparedness for the post-CPEC trade environment.