KARACHI: President Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) Saifullah Khan has termed the introduction of four different Collectorates namely Port Qasim Collectorate, East Collectorate, West Collectorate and Export Collectorate in one WeBOC System, a conspiracy against the country.
Commenting on Web Based One-Customs (WeBOC) System in an exclusive interview with Customs Today, President KCAA informed that the said system was introduced in the year 2011 and before this, PaCCS System, also known as “Care” and formed with the help of Agility Software of Kuwait, was in working.
“Before the introduction of WeBOC in 2011, the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Member Customs briefed the trade bodies that they are going to introduce an automation system which is parallel to PaCCS vis-à-vis working and quality, but unfortunately, there is no use of automation in WeBoC and it is only used for data entry”, Khan added.
To a query, President KCAA said that Customs agents are facing tremendous difficulties in clearance of import consignments under WeBOC system and Customs officials need more training to operate the said system in a proper way.
“Despite the fact that KCAA has written many letters to Chairman FBR and Member Customs for advancement of WeBOC, no action has been taken in this regard”, he added.
Responding to another query, Saifullah Khan said, “Bifurcation of PaCCS Collectorate into 4 other Collectorates shows malafide intentions. On the one hand, this step created shortage of officials and, on the other, it could increase corruption in Customs Department”.
He further demanded the establishment of a single Assessment Hall, the same as in the past, instead of four individual assessment halls of East Collectorate, West Collectorate, Port Qasim Collectorate and Export Collectorate.
Replying to a question, President KCAA said that the authorities concerned in Customs Department should utilize all their resources in order to run WeBOC in an effective manner, as clearing agents are still facing difficulties in filing GDs through this particular system and the prevailing situation compels them to file GDs manually.
With the introduction of KAP-E Collectorate and KAP-W Collectorate, the goods which ground at Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT), KAP-E Collectorate are going to Pakistan Shaheen Terminal, NLC, TPX and Timber Port while the goods which ground at Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT), KAP-W Collectorate are going to Al-Hamd, Burma Oil Terminal and MTO.
Saifullah Khan further said that the Federal Board of Revenue and Pakistan Customs should take into confidence the Agents Association and trade bodies before implementing or introducing any new system.
Commenting on the upcoming KCAA annual elections, Saifullah said that they are fully prepared for the elections and hoped that their panel would definitely win the polls with a thumping majority.
Khan hoped that the Karachi Customs Agents Alliance will continue its struggle for safeguarding the rights of clearing/forwarding agents after coming into power again.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with clearing agents in difficult times and will continue to resolve their issues related to clearance of goods”, he added.
Commenting on the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) scam, Khan said that Pakistan Customs should conduct an impartial and unbiased inquiry in the light of the verdict given by Supreme Court of Pakistan. “According to the Public Orders 16/2000 and 5/2003, clearing agents are not answerable after handing over the goods to national carriers”, he added.
KCAA President Saifullah urged FBR Chairman to immediately withdraw all Order-in-Original (ONO) issued against their members.
President KCAA had also demanded the establishment of a joint investigation team comprising the officials of Customs, NAB, FIA, Customs Intelligence and Customs Agents with a view to conducting an impartial and unbiased investigation into the ATT scam and identifying the real culprits.
When contacted, Chairman APCCA Syed Shams Burney termed the involvement of Customs agents in ATT scam unlawful. Burney further said that no one should mislead the Federal Government and Supreme Court regarding ATT scam.
When contacted, Chief Collector Appraisement Nasir Masroor said that the formation of two more Collectorates will definitely streamline the process of revenue collection and enhance the performance of MCCs.