ISLAMABAD: Due to strong nexus of customs with shipping companies, their agents and terminal operator including Evergreen Line, Greenpak Shipping, United Marine Agencies, KMTC and PICT, the revenue collection slows down drastically and losses to the national exchequer touch Rs 610 billion per year.
Sources said Customs staff made a strong nexus with Deputy MD of Greenpak Abdul Rauf, CEO of United Marine Agency Sohail Shams, COO PICT Khurram Aziz Khan and Chairman Marine Group Capt. Haleem Siddiqui who was once director of PICT, to harass and blackmail the importers.
Sohail Shams, CEO United Marine Agencies
Sources said containers that were supposed to be cleared in 2 to 3 days are purposely delayed to a week or in many cases even a month. In fact, documents gathered by Customs Today shows that containers are even delayed from several months to a year. This pathetic pace of releasing the goods drastically affects the revenue collection. When the importer is stuck up with release of any consignment then he also holds back the containers that are following up in the pipeline. This puts the revenue collection into a vicious circle.
Sources said FBR not only loses on the revenue for the goods that are held at the Pakistan ports but also loses revenue on the goods that are held back in the exporting countries. In fact, the importers slow down their purchase orders and even cancel them. The image of Pakistan is also tarnished due to holding back of such goods already purchased by the importers.
Sources said our nation not only loses the heavy duties that were to be collected on those goods but also loses heavy sales taxes and income taxes that were to be collected at the import stage of those goods. The importer not only pays the customs duty but also significantly contributes towards achieving the FBR revenue targets of sales tax and income tax levied at the import stage.
Sources said the revenue collection of customs duty in year 2017-2018 alone was around Rs. 610 billion. Experts calculate that if the unnecessary delays and detentions of containers are eradicated, then the revenue generated by FBR would at least be doubled. Persons like Abdul Rauf, Sohail Shams, Khurram Aziz Khan and Capt. (R) Haleem Siddiqui and companies like Evergreen Line, Greenpak Shipping, United Marine Agencies, KMTC and PICT have built a parallel business of demurrage and detention while seriously damaging the revenue of Pakistan.
This is really a serious issue where NAB and FIA need to take action against the culprits so that the nation is saved from this whopping Rs. 610 billion revenue loss.
It is pertinent to mention here that various importers have already filed 13 applications to lodge FIRs against these shipping lines and their agents including Deputy MD of Greenpak Abdul Rauf, CEO of United Marine Agency Sohail Shams, COO PICT Khurram Aziz Khan and chairman Marine Group Capt. Haleem Siddiqui, for demanding additional demmurage and detention charges from importers.