KARACHI: Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) has expressed concerns over delay in consignment clearance due to shortage of customs officials.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the association said that it had already informed the customs collectorates regarding the alarming situation that has been created due to shortage of staff for clearance of consignments at custom stations i.e. Model Customs Collectorate Appraisement & Facilitation of East, West, AFU Port Qasim and Exports.
Unnecessary delay of several days is being faced by the trade in the clearance of their consignments incurring additional cost to traders.
KCAA highlighted the following issues:
• The appraisement staff is quite busy attending file work, PRV, AIB, RND, Audit, FTO, Tribunal and hearings in the Court of Law on regular basis.
• Most of the Goods declarations remain in queue for two to three days before being assigned to the appropriate officers i.e. A/O if the same goods declaration mark to examination.
• Thereafter it takes more two to three days for grounding and examination.
• After examination it takes further two to three days for the Good declaration to be opened by the assessment officer.
• There is only one examiner posted for examination at all three sheds at Air Freight Unit causing severe delays for clearance of by air consignments which are often urgent in nature.
• Dilemma is that the concerned AC/DC are over burden by multiple charges and are busy with file work i.e. board’s issues, audit and recovery etc. and unable to pay their full attention towards the group monitoring and hearing.
The association pointed out that in this current era of devaluation of our currency most of the items being imported are raw materials that are imported by the industries for subsequent exportation after processing.
If the current situation of shortage of staff is not dealt with it may results in loss of export orders, foreign exchange and may bring dreadful repute to our country in the international market.
It suggested that the powers of Section 203 of Customs Act 1969 and increase the free period time for import consignments because due to late completion of goods declaration traders are suffering unnecessary heavy losses in terms of shipping line container detention & port demurrage charges while the same amount is being remitted by the terminal operators and shipping companies to their principal foreign offices in shape of foreign exchange.
The association urged the prime minister and FBR chairman to issue necessary instruction to depute sufficient number of staff at all collectorate.
The association also suggested a separate dedicated Law Department may be established and the staff posted therein be assigned to attend the hearings of the cases and other court related matters.