LAHORE: The Chief Collector Customs Latufullah Virk has said that administrative action, fiscal measures and above all political will are needed to curb under-invoicing and smuggling that are the biggest threats to the economy.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari, Vice President Kashif Anwar, former Presidents Iftikhar Ali Malik, Mian Anjum Nisar, former Vice Presidents Aftab Ahmad Vohra, Shafqat Saeed Piracha, Executive Committee Members Muhammad Haroon Arrora, Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Nasir Hameed, Talha Tayyab Butt, Mohammad Akram, Mohammad Afzal, Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam and Mian Zahid Javaid were prominent among the speakers.
The Chief Collector Customs said that the menace of smuggling/under-invoicing was not only eating up huge government revenue but also hitting the genuine businessmen very hard and a number of anti-smuggling measures are afoot to tackle this issue.
Latufullah Virk said that the Customs Department is a bridge between Federal Board of Revenue and the private sector therefore all the genuine demands of the business community would be addressed. About the complaints of Valuation, the Customs Chief clarified that review provision was the best tool to deal with wrong Valuation therefore the LCCI should activate its Valuation committee by inducting more professionals in it.
The Customs Chief said that it was heartening to note that no organized duty evasion or misdeclaration was found in Lahore and its revenues registered a surge of 28 percent for which the credit goes to the private sector.
He said that the Customs department always needed business community feedback therefore the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry should strengthen its liaison with Customs officials.
When his attention was drawn towards dilapidated condition of the T10 section of the Railway Station and the challenges being faced by the business community while dealing with NLC, Latufullah Virk said that he would look into the issues to get them resolved at the earliest. Over the issue of DTRE, the Customs Chief promised to issue necessary directions to the concerned officials.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari and Vice President Kashif Anwar urged the Customs Chief that the up-country businessmen should be taken on board while determining the value of the goods as the higher valuation of goods and raw materials is not only jacking up cost of doing business in the country but encouraging corruption and smuggling.
The LCCI office-bearers said that undue interference of Customs Intelligence officials into the smooth running of businesses was not only creating troubles for private sector but was also adversely affecting the revenues therefore a mechanism should be adopted to put this practice to an end.
They urged the Chief Collector Customs to ensure that any action taken by the Customs Department should not be against the interests of the business community who are major contributor towards the national exchequer.
They also urged the Collector Customs to convene, at the earliest, the meeting of the committee constituted by the Ministry of Commerce under the headship of Customs Collector comprising members from NLC, Rangers, National Bank of Pakistan, TDAP and an LCCI nominee in order to improve the day to day working at the Wahga Border. They said that it was very unfortunate the since the constitution of the committee, no meeting had been called.
The LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had received a number of complaints from its members that consignments for exports are damaged during the forwarding process and importers often complain about receipt of less quantity than mentioned in the packaging list/invoice therefore a probe should launched to stop this wrong doing.