KARACHI: Pakistan Economy Forum, in a letter to Nasir Masroor, Chief Collector Appraisement South, notes that non-professional attitude of terminal operators as well as Customs Department was causing serious losses to the traders and recommended activating automation and risk management system to facilitate importers, which also happen to be tax payers.

Arshad Jamal, Chairman Pakistan Economy forum, said Goods Declarers should be facilitates as such that the valid Customs Valuations Rulings should be visible for the Declarers on their system so that accurate amount of tax could be paid. Moreover the assessment officials should clear the goods on correct declarations without any delay.

He recommended that Customs should sign an agreement with the terminal operators to provide fix-customs-examination area with all required facilities as the terminal operators have miserably failed to facilitate Goods Declarers while taxpayers were suffering heavy loss because of the mishandling of goods by the terminal operators. Therefore, the importers should be allowed to arrange private handling machinery and labor so that the damage to goods could be avoided.

The letter noted that delayed container grounding, insufficient space for examination, mismanagement by terminal operators, insufficient and unskilled surveyors are the prime issues at the terminals, which need to be sorted out.

He said that because of the ‘contractor system’ at Terminals, unloading and loading of goods is delayed causing losses to the importers. Besides, the re-packing of goods was not properly done which increased the cost of importers while a fresh consignment was turned into ‘stock-lot’. The Economy Forum’s letter said that Customs was also one of the reasons resulting in delays.

Arshad Jamal has recommended to form a high-level committee comprising representatives of traders and terminal operators so that the issues could be addressed and the trade facilitation and tax collection system could be improved.