PM Shehbaz Directs Action Against Corruption in Pakistan Customs

PM Shehbaz Directs Action Against Corruption in Pakistan Customs

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a significant meeting on Thursday, focusing on eliminating corruption within Pakistan Customs while enhancing operational efficiency through advanced technology.

Highlighting the critical role of customs in the nation’s economy, Prime Minister Shehbaz stressed the need for comprehensive reforms within the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and complete digitization to bolster economic security.

During the session, Prime Minister Shehbaz directed officials to ensure rigorous enforcement of customs duties, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and state-of-the-art equipment to streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary obstacles. He underscored the importance of third-party audits to monitor the effectiveness of reform initiatives across the FBR and other relevant departments, advocating for centralized oversight of all projects.

Emphasizing enhanced revenue generation, Prime Minister Shehbaz instructed the establishment of a dedicated project management unit to spearhead reforms within the customs sector. He also emphasized the resolution of issues related to mis-invoicing and under-invoicing, which threaten local industries, urging officials to safeguard Pakistan’s economic interests.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Shehbaz called for the implementation of a robust regulatory framework to govern the operations of the shipping industry, ensuring transparency and efficiency. He specifically highlighted the need for a third-party audit of the web-based one-customs system (WeBOC), pivotal in enhancing customs operations.

During the briefing, officials reported that Pakistan Customs had achieved full automation, integrating modern AI-based systems with the expertise of international consultants to drive reform. Notably, approximately 72.4% of import and export processes were streamlined through the green channel, contributing significantly to operational efficiency. Moreover, Pakistan Customs reported an impressive Rs 240 billion increase in revenue collection through effective valuation controls from July 2023 to June 2024, marking an 80% rise from the previous year.

The meeting was attended by key federal cabinet members including Ahad Khan Cheema, Muhammad Aurangzeb, and Ali Pervaiz Malik, alongside Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Jahanzeb Khan, Attorney General Mansoor Awan, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ehsan Afzal, Member of National Assembly Barrister Aqeel Malik, and FBR Chairman Zubair Tiwana, among other senior officials.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s directives underscored a comprehensive approach to reforming Pakistan Customs, enhancing transparency, and maximizing revenue collection through strategic enforcement and technological innovation. The government’s commitment to combating corruption and promoting economic stability through effective customs management remains steadfast, setting a robust agenda for future reforms in the sector.