NBP makes payment realization mandatory for goods clearance; FPCCI fears delays

KARACHI: Payment realization against financial instruments has been made mandatory for clearance of imported goods from August 10, 2020.

In this regard National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has issued necessary instructions to its branches receiving duty and taxes, customs clearing agents and other stakeholders.

While referring to Federal Treasury Rules, the NBP said that it had observed the custom authorized branches of the bank after the introduction of WeBOC system were not adhering to the rules and Goods Declarations (GDs) were being issued against collection of clearing instruments.

“A further clarification regarding the issue has also been take from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and the central bank had also advised to enforce Federal Treasury Rule 79 (1) (a),” the bank said.

The NBP issued instructions to all its branches to ensure that only preliminary acknowledgement of the receipt of the cheque / payment order should be given on the prescribed form at the time of receipt of clearing instrument. “Posting in WeBOC and issuance of GD will be subject to clearing.”

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in a statement on Saturday expressed its concerns over the instructions issued by the NBP and said it would cause unnecessary delays for clearance of consignments and also increase cost in terms of port charges.

Chairman of FPCCI’s Committee on Customs Shabbir Mansha said that for the past 70 years a system for payment of duty and taxes was operational.

The sudden change in procedure will cause delay of consignment clearance and business community will pay additional charges for procedural delays.

He surprised over the implementation of revised procedure especially at a time when trade was badly hampered due to COVID pandemic.

“The payment procedure will affect international trade and a bulk of containers will be stuck up at ports,” he added.

He said that the revised procedure was not practical because fluctuation in exchange rate was routine matter in the country. He said that importer make payment through financial instrument on the basis of prevailing of exchange rate and as per revised procedure the on the date of payment realization the exchange rate may be vary on the date of submission of the financial instrument. “In such a scenario the customs authorities will demand payment order for the exchange rate differential amount, he added.

He lamented that in revised scenario the importer would face huge demurrage and detention charges despite duty and taxes paid through payment order.

The FPCCI urged Prime Minister of Pakistan and State Bank of Pakistan to intervene into the matter and defer the implementation of revised payment mechanism.

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