KARACHI: Six years after its inception, the Directorate of Post Clearance Audit (PCA) is facing not only a severe shortage of staff, but also not getting the attention it deserves.
Sources told Customs Today that every single goods declaration (GD); be it through sea, land or air, filed across the country should be verified by the PCA, but it is humanely not possible due to an acute shortage of staff.
The number of GDs filed is increasing every year. In 2012, a total of 1,429,120 GDs were filed which increased to 1,482,961 in 2013 and during January November 1-18, 2014 a total of 1,045,945 GDs have already been filed. Checking GDs to detect the evidence for tax evasion requires not only expertise to know the laws pertaining to valuation, assessment as well as contraventions under the IPO, SRO and it also requires qualified staff of which there is a dearth in the directorate, the sources added.
Referring to training imparted to the PCA personnel by US experts under the USAID programme a few months ago in Karachi, they said that the US experts expressed concerns about the data not being re-examined thoroughly that deprives the validity of the customs data and processes of authenticity and reliability. Sources quoted the US experts as saying, “We should improve the quality and skills for an effective post clearance audit processes.”
The PCA was established in October 2008 with the aim to develop a comprehensive monitoring mechanism to verify the correctness of trade-related declarations, detect and investigate commercial and frauds and propose measures to prevent its occurrence; assist the Federal Board of Revenue to evolve, develop and update systems, procedures and organisational structure meant to scrutinise, and ensure compliance of the trade with the national trade laws, procedures and controls; and to recover the escaped revenues.
The PCA has an acute shortage of staff. The directorate has been provided with only one additional director against a sanctioned strength of two.
Moreover, the PCA requires three principal appraisers, but there is one PA at its disposal, against the requirement for 10 appraisers there are only two. The PCA requires 10 auditors, but none is being provided to it. Similarly, the directorate is provided with only two senior auditors against six vacant slots.