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Online customs clearance system approved to stop misuse of Afghan Transit Trade facility

KARACHI: In order to stop the misuse of transit trade facility, Afghanistan’s commerce ministry has been allowed online customs clearance system to endow specifics of licences issued to the Afghan importers.

The Directorate General of Transit Trade of Pakistan Customs on Monday issued an order, directing importers of Afghanistan not to submit the copy of Jawaznama manually. Under the Customs rules, the Jawaznama is defined as a licence issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Afghanistan to its nationals for trade of goods to and from the country. The copy of Jawaznama verified by Afghan Consulate is required under the law for the processing of Afghan transit goods declaration.

The directorate said the processing of transit goods declarations had been automated and Afghan commerce ministry is provided access to the customs’ computerised system WeBOC (web-based one customs) for the verification of Jawaznama and issuance of the user ID to Afghan national for trade of goods to and from Afghanistan.

The access has been given to Afghan focal person nominated by Afghan commerce ministry and implemented successfully. “Afghan ministry has started issuing user IDs after the issuance of Jawaznama. Since requisite particulars of Jawaznama are being directly fed in the WeBOC system by the ministry, the copy of Jawaznama duly verified by Afghan consulate for processing of goods declaration is no more required to be submitted for processing purpose,” the order said.

Customs sources said online access was granted to Afghan ministry to avoid misuse of the facility.

In the past, the incidents of pilferage of containers meant for Afghanistan was reported. Back in 2011, the federal tax ombudsman had presented a report, namely ISAF Containers Scam; it estimated around Rs37 billion duty and tax evasion during the last four years.

The sources said the new changes in the online system will control the clearance of transit goods and ensure the clearance of a container crossing the border.

Recently, Directorate of General of Automation and Reforms (Customs) integrated a number of applications into the WeBOC to strengthen the monitoring of Afghan transit trade.

The directorate has allowed the collectorates at Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta to view Afghan importer’s history through the management information system.

In order to show the correct transit data, an application has been introduced for containers selected for examination, which would be apart from cleared containers.

Another application has been introduced to WeBOC system for Customs officials to view the break-up of month-wise import data under transit trade.