Govt to automate Customs procedures

Updated 27 Sep 2020

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The government has decided to introduce a string of reforms measures in Customs, beginning with the automation of procedures to facilitate traders and exporters. — Aurangzaib Khan/File
The government has decided to introduce a string of reforms measures in Customs, beginning with the automation of procedures to facilitate traders and exporters. — Aurangzaib Khan/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to introduce a string of reforms measures in Customs, beginning with the automation of procedures to facilitate traders and exporters.

The reform measures are projected to be implemented within the specific deadlines.

Official documents show that government will automate all approvals required from the Customs under export promotion schemes latest by Oct 31, 2020. The automation of export regime will cover Export Oriented Units, Manufacturing Bonds, DTRE and temporary imports under SRO 492(I)/2009.

The automation of export promotions schemes will cover the processes for application and grant of licences, analysis cards, quotas, DTRE approval and any other approvals required under the relevant rules. The system will be linked with relevant data bases of WeBOC, IRIS and National Database & Registration Authority for online verification of particulars and parameters required for approval.

The customs department has projected to put in place a system latest by September 30 for automatic payment of duty drawbacks. Upon export of goods and receipt of Bank Credit Advice in WeBOC, the system will auto convert export Goods Declaration (GD) into duty drawback claims.

Upon processing and sanction of duty drawback claim by the processing officer, the system will issue an electronic advice to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The SBP will issue an electronic message to the concerned bank of the exporter to credit the duty drawback amount into the bank account of the exporter.

The SBP will send a payment message to WeBOC and the status of duty drawback claim will be updated accordingly in the system.

The existing duty drawback system requiring filing of duty drawback claims by the exporters and subsequent issuance of manual paper-based cheques causing delayed payment of duty drawback will be re-engineered to allow automated disbursement of sanctioned amount to exporters.

To facilitate trade, Customs will introduce until June 2021 an effective Customs Risk Evaluation and Management System (Cream) in the light of World Customs Organisation guidelines and international best practices.

The system will facilitate the processing of low risk consignment of traders having good compliance history to facilitate the compliant traders and reduce port dwell time. The system will have risk-based selectivity parameters to identify the consignments posing any potential risk to Customs for necessary Customs controls.

The system will have the capability to cater for the unique risk management requirements of sea cargo, land borders stations and airports for effective customs controls. The system will contain the necessary monitoring parameters for the evaluation and improvement of Risk Management System.

For the automation of post clearance audit, the customs department will put in place a new module in WeBOC latest by March 31, 2021. The module will be managed by the Directorate General of Post Clearance Audit through unique user IDs issued to authorised Customs officers/ auditors.

The system will cover the post clearance audit of entity-based audit, sectoral audit and transaction-based audit (GD wise). Confidential criteria will be fed in the system for selection of entities – importer, exporter, Customs agents, transport operators, bonded warehouses etc for audit.

The findings of the audit will be fed in the system by the auditor for review by the supervisory officers, who may approve the findings or refer the same back to the auditor with remarks. In case no irregularity/evasion is detected by Post Clearance Audit (PCA), the closure of audit will be approved by the Additional Director/Director PCA.

The Customs will develop a paperless Debt Collection (Recovery) module in WeBOC which will replace the existing manual recovery process. The recovery module will obtain the input regarding recoverable arrears from cases adjudicated in WeBOC in which the recoverable amounts of duty/taxes/fine/penalty are not deposited by the trader within the stipulated time frame, past recovery cases lying in the Recovery section of the Model Customs Collectorate and encashable securities in Bank Guarantee Cell.

The system will generate recovery notice and record other procedures. The system will be in place latest by Dec 31, 2020.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2020