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budget proposals

FTO proposes initiating criminal prosecution against smugglers

ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has recommended that tax authorities should initiate criminal prosecutions against persons involved in smuggling or selling non-duty paid goods.

In its proposals for budget 2021/2022, the FTO recommended measures on the issues of smuggling, misdeclarations, under-invoicing and non-transparent auctions.

In order to effectively check the smuggling, it was recommended that criminal prosecution should be initiated against the persons/owners of the showrooms involved in business of Non-Duty Paid (NDP) vehicles, fuel pumps of smuggled oil and storage godowns of other smuggled items, from whom the NDP goods were recovered as provided in the Customs Act, 1969 read with the Prevention of Smuggling Act, 1977.

Installation of scanners on the ports was recommended to be given top priority. It was emphasized that if government invested herself in this project, it will raise the potential of higher revenue and more effective check on misdeclaration of description or quantity of imported goods.

So far two scanners have been added at Karachi Ports in addition to one already installed there. Two scanners have also been installed at Jamrud and Torkham, Peshawar.

It was recommended to provide a mechanism in law for cross-matching of value declared on export documents of exporting station to import documents at importing station.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was asked to prescribe Model Auction Rules for auction through electronic means and prepare/operationalize an auction module in the WeBOC system to bring transparency and efficiency in the auctions.

According to FBR, under the WeBOC-Glo initiative (an enhanced version of WeBOC), an electronic auction module has been developed and deployed in the system. This module envisages online registration of bidders who can bid for all auctionable goods displayed on website by the Customs authorities. Pilot is being run at Karachi Port (South Asia Port Terminal only).

In view of constant complaints about delayed clearance at the border stations, generators should be provided on priority for speedy passengers/goods clearances and maintenance of IT and infrastructure support.