ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Customs seizure of currency — as part of compliance to Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommendations — posted a growth of 208 per cent in FY 2018-19, the highest ever in the recent past, to reach Rs485 million against Rs157m in the corresponding period last year.
The Customs department has already introduced a string of policy measures to counter terrorism financing through transfers with the help of cash carriers and develop profiles of currency traffickers.
Since July 2018, the enforcement drive has produced desired results in the wake of effective enforcement of measures to curb smuggling.
An official statement issued here said that total anti-smuggling seizures stood at Rs31.7 billion as against Rs25.3bn in FY 2017-18, with an increase of above 22.5 per cent. Values of seizures witnessed sharp rise for vehicles (114pc), electronic goods (43pc), diesel (55pc), gutka (150pc) and food grains (200pc).
Customs Duty collection in FY 2018-19 stood at Rs684.4bn as against Rs606bn in 2017-18, registering growth of 12.9pc. The Customs Duty target, out of total initial FBR target of Rs4,435bn, was Rs.735bn. It shows that Customs collection fell behind the target.
Deliberate fiscal policy measures taken by the government to curb imports are the major reason for reduced growth in Customs collection. For example, in US dollar terms, dutiable imports declined by more than 20pc. This factor alone ate up, expected positive revenue impact of currency devaluation. This trend of declining imports is synonymous with decline in import quantity, computed in terms of TEUs, which reduced by 10pc in the entire financial year.
Further, loss of Customs Duty on account of non-tariff/tariff measures on specific items like vehicles, furnace oil, betel nut and other edibles etc., has been estimated to be above Rs35bn.
As against duty drawback of Rs14.5bn in the previous financial year, more than Rs16.5bn customs rebate was given in FY 2018-19, registering growth of above 13.5pc.
Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2019