KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has lambasted the attituted of port authorities in handling the containers for exports proceeds during inspection by Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) and Pakistan Customs that is causing losses to business community besides delay in export consignments.
Zakaria Usman, President FPCCI on Wednesday condemned the negligent attitude of port authorities in handling the containers during inspections by Customs and ANF authorities. He said that that business community normally misunderstood and confused in the matter of un-packing and repacking the product, and de-stuffing and re-stuffing the containers by the customs and anti narcotic authorities due to which they suffer severe losses in terms of damages to goods, packing, order cancellation, delay in delivery of export orders and demurrages at the ports and thought that it was the responsibility of ANF authorities but in fact it is the sole responsibility of the port authorities.
Usman further said that the exporters pay charges in dollars as per international rates but they are not being served as per the international norms. He expressed his serious concerns over revelation of the fact by the Brig. Abu Zar Regional Director Sindh ANF in a meeting with the office bearers of FPCCI and business community at FPCCI, Head Quarter, Karachi. The meeting was also attended by Shaukat Ahmed, Sr. Vice President and Khurram Sayeed, Vice President, Ismail Suttar, Vice President FPCCI who is also the looking after the affairs of ANF Coordination Committee of FPCCI, Irfan Bawani, Javed Balwani, COO of KICT Mr. Lui and the prominent exporters.
Ismail Suttar, Vice President FPCCI said that we had planned this meeting to discuss the modalities of inspection of the containers of the exporters by ANF on modern techniques to avoid damages to goods and delay in clearance of shipment so that we can be able to deliver the export orders in time to our buyers in good condition abroad. He said that in this meeting the Regional Director Sindh of ANF and his team and Chairmen of Karachi Port and Port Qasim were invited.
He appreciated that the Regional Director of ANF who attended the meeting with his team but regrets that both the Chairmen did not bothered to come to Federation House to attend such important meeting which has deep rooted effects on the exports of the country. He further said that we need to find solutions so that at least the port operators to start with can employ or engage the services of technically sound packers and de stuffers so that the cargo is not damaged during the process of examination both by the customs as well as ANF.
At this time our exports are at 25 Billion US Dollars and the efforts are in place to double this figure in three years time means that the inspection will also be doubled in three years for which we need our port operators to take this matter very seriously there is no rocket science involved in getting the cargo properly de stuffed as well as re stuffed in a proper manner so that there is no loss to the cargo. The entire nation will have to work towards the goal of more and more exports and at the same time we need to deliver proper products well packed according to the needs of the customers.
The international community has high standards for almost everything these days and are also ready to pay the price to the exporters and at the same time expect proper goods but unfortunately due to mishandling at the port operators level we tend to export our goods upto 7 to 8 percent in substandard packaging for no fault of ours as ANF opens about 2% of the cargo whereas Customs open about 5 to 6% of the cargo eventually making the cargo unacceptable by the importers. It is time as a nation we need to understand the needs of the international business and we need to deliver accordingly. The port operators are not providing these services on charity the exporters are paying at the international rates to these companies and expect proper services from them, he said.
Brig. Abu Zar said that the matter of unpacking repacking of products and de-stuffing/re-stuffing the container is not the responsibility of ANF but it is the responsibility of port authorities. He said that the business community is the defender of the economy of the country. He explained that the ANF is facing a lot of problems from Customs authorities and port authorities. The appreciated the President and Vice Presidents of FPCCI who initiated to create coordination between ANF, Customs and port authorities and recommended that the representatives from SBP and FBR should have also been invited in this meeting. This E Form should be strictly controlled. The banks should avoid issuance the E Form to everyone before verifying the real exporters. The Customs authorities should thoroughly check and verify the other export documents as well. He also informed that ANF do 30% physical inspection and it is always in presence of the representatives of the exporters and before we start this process we get snap shots of the whole process through unlocking to sealing the container.
Zakaria Usman, further said that it is a serious issue and another meeting will be held in a few days where the authorities of KICT, PICT, KPT, PQA, SBP, FBR will be invited to attend the meeting so that the matter can be resolved amicably. He warned the concerned authorities that it is the matter of prestige of the country in international trade and if they ignore the importance of the matter the FPCCI may knock the door of the higher authorities of the government for resolution.