'Re-examination' of goods irks importers

KARACHI - The importers of the country are facing major hurdles at the port regarding clearing of their goods which was causing financial losses to them, importers and exporters told The Nation. According to industrialists, the consignments were being delayed at Model Custom Collectorate (Care) due to FIFO System. An importer claimed that more than 95 per cent cases of import consignments are referred into an examination process with a minimum period of one week. If any "deal" does not strike between Customs officials and importers, the case again referred into re-examination process, he alleged, adding that due to this re-examination process of consignments resulting in heavy demurrages, production losses, increase in cost of production and other relevant expenses. When contacted by The Nation, M. Ashfaq Central Vice President of All Pakistan Power Looms Association said that the re-examination of material by Customs officials was meant to make deal with them. The speedy money was required by the departmental personals to keep out the examination of the consignments, he alleged. Furthermore, the frequently and unnecessarily meetings are conducted by Customs officials during the peak hours of public dealings which further delays the clearance of consignments, he said. Instead of verifying online on government website, the concessionary SRO's relating to Customs Duties and Sales Tax were deliberately rejected and referred to concerned Additional Collector by Customs officials, he pointed out and demanded that this verified must be made online. Meanwhile, an Import Trade Price (ITP) increased by Customs authorities during hike in oil prices in international market, he said and added that a huge cut witnessed in the oil prices in global market but the Import Trade Price has not been reduced yet. He informed that Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also convened a meeting regarding Customs issues being faced by importers and exporters. M. Ashfaq who is importer of yarn and other raw material of textile industry, demanded that the government should reduce the import duty from 9 per cent to 5 per cent on the yarn-raw material of clothes immediately as our textile is not competing with our neighbouring. The Indian clothes were being smuggled to Pakistan through Sri Lanka which were impacting our local industry, he said, adding, if import duty on raw materials of clothes was not reduced the industry would not be able to compete with the smuggled Indian clothes. He further said the government has exempted the large textile units from sales and income tax in electricity bills but small textile units were still paying this extra burden of taxes in electricity bills. The same relief given to large textile units must be given to small units as these are the actual foreign exchange earners for the country, he said.

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