KCCI Applauds Govt Move to Limit Customs Raids

KCCI Applauds Govt Move to Limit Customs Raids

Karachi, April 30, 2024 – The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has commended the recent government decision to limit the scope of Pakistan Customs’ raids on business premises, heralding a significant shift towards more business-friendly policies.

In a detailed statement released on Tuesday, KCCI President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh expressed gratitude towards Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his decisive action in curbing unexpected customs raids, particularly those conducted at night in the absence of business owners. The decision follows a commitment made by the Prime Minister during a recent meeting at the Chief Minister’s House in Karachi.

“The Prime Minister showed unwavering commitment to addressing the concerns of Karachi’s business community and fostering an environment conducive to economic growth and enhanced exports,” Sheikh noted. He added that the business sector is prepared to support the government’s efforts towards national economic prosperity.

The crux of the new policy, as outlined by Sheikh, involves directives issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to Chief Collector Customs. These guidelines mandate that raids on warehouses and godowns be conducted during daylight hours and avoid nighttime operations unless the owner or a representative is present. In cases where neither is available, the premises are to be sealed, and Customs staff are instructed to guard the site to prevent any removal of goods.

Additionally, Sheikh highlighted the procedural changes that will now require Customs authorities to allow business owners the opportunity to present documents proving the lawful import or possession of goods. Moreover, an inventory of detained goods must be made in the presence of the owner or representative along with independent witnesses — a long-standing demand from KCCI.

“These new regulations will ensure that seized goods are returned as per the documented inventory at the time of detention once legal ownership is established,” Sheikh explained. This is expected to significantly mitigate the financial losses businesses suffered under the previous raid procedures, which often resulted in lengthy disputes over the fate of detained goods.

The KCCI president concluded his statement with a note of optimism, expressing hope that other concerns raised during the chamber’s discussions with the Prime Minister would be addressed. Sheikh reaffirmed KCCI’s readiness to continue collaborating with the government to facilitate solutions that benefit the broader economic landscape of Pakistan.

This move by the government has been seen by economic analysts as a strategic attempt to boost investor confidence and stabilize the business environment in Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan. By limiting the disruption caused by Customs raids, the government aims to signal its commitment to protecting and promoting legitimate business activities, thereby encouraging both domestic and international investment.

The business community in Karachi has responded positively to these changes, viewing them as a vital step towards establishing a more predictable and transparent regulatory environment. Many believe that these reforms are essential for the long-term growth of Pakistan’s economy, which relies heavily on the performance and expansion of its private sector.

As Pakistan continues to navigate through economic challenges, measures such as these are critical in ensuring that the nation’s business sector remains robust and capable of contributing effectively to its economic recovery and development.