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Pakistan Customs officers, staff remarkably outstanding: Collector Faiz Ahmad
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Pakistan Customs officers, staff remarkably outstanding: Collector Faiz Ahmad

Says Lahore Preventive revenue growth hits record high of 47 percent during 1Q

Guidance of Member Customs also proved instrumental in making big total

LAHORE: Pakistan Customs officers and staff everywhere are remarkably outstanding and they can yield exceptionally good results if led by example and trust. Collectorate of Customs Preventive Lahore revenue growth has touched to a record high of 47 percent during the first quarter. Guidance of Member Customs Zahid Khokhar also proved instrumental in enabling the Collectorate to attain the growth.

These views were expressed by Collector of Customs Preventive Faiz Ahmad while exclusively talking to Customs Today the other day at his office. Ahmad enjoys a good reputation in customs circles and is known as an upright and honest officer of the service. He belongs to province of Punjab and has extensive experience in management and customs related affairs.

The collector said that despite the fact that the Collectorate of Customs Preventive issued a large number of rebates to the importers, its revenue growth has touched to record high of 47 percent during the first quarter against the same period last financial year while it also posted 31 percent growth against the target for the period by collecting Rs7019 million.

The Collectorte posted 97 percent growth in collection of customs duty during the month of September 2017 as compared to last the September 2016 while overall growth in collection of all duty and taxes touched 66 percent during the month as compared to the collection of same period last financial year, Ahmad stated, disclosing that the Collectorate posted 47 percent growth in collection of the all duty and taxes for the first quarter of financial year 2017-18 as compared to the same period last financial year. The growth is excluding all rebate and refunds which is 113 percent more than that of the rebate and refunds issued during the last financial year, he indicated.

Ahmad indicated that the Collectorate collected Rs 9176 million all duty and taxes which is Rs 3000 million during the current financial as compared to the collection of Rs 6287 million during the IQ of financial year 2016-17.

The Collectorate said that in attaining the unprecedented growth in revenue collection various measures taken at the Collectorate’s level played vital role.

“I mainly ensured appointments of the, effective, honest and professional officers staff at the various establishments of the Collectorate including Wagha Border, Airport, T-10 and Anti-Smuggling under the limits of the collectorate and adopted zero tolerance against the corrupt officers and official if there is any. At the same time trade facilitation was prioritized while quality of assessment has improved significantly,” the Collectorate pointed out.  While talking about Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO), the collector said that performance of ASO has improved to 300 percent mark as the ASO team is given targets on daily basis and monitored.

The effective measures have curtailed smuggling to a substantial level as earlier trucks of smuggled goods and articles were dumped in the market, however now the smugglers have no other way and resorted to smuggle their goods and articles by misusing passengers in far smaller quantities, he explained, adding that the ASO registered worth Rs271 million showing a growth of 300 percent during the first quarter of 2017-18 as compared to Rs 80 million’s cases during the same period last financial year.

Ahmad said that this was due to the ASO staff’s teamwork which is being conducted under the experienced and brave customs officers and staff especially at the time when smuggling from Quetta and Peshawar has been reduced due to comprehensive and effective strategy adopted by the Customs authorities in these areas.  The collector disclosed that most of the seized goods were dumped in the godowns in Lahore and were confiscated when the good were attempted to be supplied in the markets of the city.  The number of seizures, arrests, FIRs has also been increased that ensured deterrence against the smuggling activities, the collector also highlighted.

Talking about the recent seizure of four trucks of tomatoes in the wake of the time when the country witnessed acute shortage of the tomatoes supply and destabilized the prices, the collector underscored that auction of the seized tomatoes was ensured transparent as during the first round of the bid the maximum bid for the stock of the tomatoes was given Rs 1.2 million which was considered irrational and cancelled and the same stock was auctioned for Rs 3.8 million afterward.

In answer to a question about the likely-imposition of regulatory duty and increase in the volume of smuggling of the regulated goods in the result, the collector said that the imposition of the RD is basically to bring down the volume of the imports and special mechanism has been devised crush smuggling activities at the central level.

He said Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) incumbent management including chairman, member customs and others are specially focused to curtail the menaces of smuggling to a minimum in the results of the imposition of regulatory duty.

The ASO Preventive has almost outperformed all the other Collectorates and directorates of intelligence in the Central Region as it made maximum cases in terms of numbers, value and arrests.

“We made 11 cases at the Railways Station Wagha in cases where commercial quantity was attempted to smuggle between India and Pakistan,” the collector of Customs explained, briefing about Passenger Facilitation Wagha we made four cases besides two cases of gold and currency smuggling were made at the Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Answering a query about the possible backlash in the results of harsh measures by ASO Lahore against smugglers, the collector informed this scribe that the Collectorate has very close coordination with Motorway and Punjab police to cope with any counter movement.

He, however, said if any official and officer of Customs Lahore found involved in any illegal and corrupt practice strict departmental action would be taken against such employees.  To a question about his experience to work with the existing setup of officers and staff without the major transfers and postings, he said that customs officers and staff everywhere are remarkably outstanding and they can yield exceptionally good results if they are led by the example and trusted.

“I have an honest team of officers and staff that always focuses on integrity, efficiency and discipline and with such the outstanding team yielding goods results is not a herculean task, the collector of customs said, adding, that guidance of Member Customs Zahid Khokhar also proved instrumental in enabling the Collectorate to attain a revenue growth of 47 percent during the quarter against the total national growth of 22 percent.