ISLAMABAD: Customs Department has identified 17 cases of under-invoicing in the imports of information technology products, the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile was informed on Thursday by Member Customs Operation Jawad Agha.

The committee, chaired by Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi reviewed various proposals to control the menace of under-invoicing in the imports of IT products.

Agha informed the meeting that as many as 17 cases of under invoicing of IT products were identified by the department.

He said the manufacturers have also been approached for confirmation. “We have also dispatched a letter to Singapore High Commission in this regard,” in order to crosscheck the data, he added.

The member said the department is also monitoring banking channels to detect what procedures these importers adopted to transfer the money abroad. “We will also check whether the procedures come under [the ambit of] money laundering crime or not”, Agha further said.

The customs official admitted that there exists no proper valuation system for IT imports. He said the importers are indulged in under invoicing despite very low import duty on IT products. However, he said that customs department has now put in place an effective system to stop the practice.

The committee gave a deadline of Mar 15 to the department for presenting a comprehensive report on under invoicing. Senator Shibli Faraz also suggested making manufacturing invoice mandatory for import of all IT goods. FBR officials sought one month time to consider the proposal.

Senator Dilawar Khan pointed out irregularities in the affairs of the Pakistan Revenue Authority Ltd (PRAL), a subsidiary of the Federal Board of Revenue. He proposed an audit of PRAL affairs following the increase in number of complaints regarding the authority’s performance.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020