KARACHI: The federal government has allocated over 43 percent higher budget for salary of customs officers for the fiscal year 2014/2015 as compared with the last fiscal year, sources in finance ministry told Customnews.pk on Thursday.
The sources said that the allocated amount for salary of customs officers for the period ending June 30, 2015 is Rs979.33 million against estimated amount of Rs682.25 million under the same head spent during the last fiscal year.
Officials at Pakistan Customs said that the growth in allocation for salary of officers was due to significant number of promotions during last year and no new inductions in the lower cadre.
They said that at present large number of additional collectors and collectors is available with the different collectorates and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is creating posts for them. Similarly, a bulk of promotions made examiners, preventive officers and appraisers were given BS-16.
For the fiscal year 2014/2015, the government allocated an estimated amount of Rs6.12 billion for salaries and other expenses of the customs, which is 15.16 percent higher than the last fiscal year’s spent amount of Rs5.316 billion. The growth is inline with the increase in duty collection target that is set at Rs281 billion for the fiscal year 2014/2015 against the collected amount of Rs241 billion in the last fiscal year, showing an increase in target of about 16.5 percent.
The allocated amount on pay of the entire customs staff is Rs1.74 billion for the ongoing fiscal year as compared with Rs1.57 billion in the last fiscal year. The pay of lower cadre staff is allocated at Rs759.18 million, which declined by 14.5 percent from the last year estimated spent amount of Rs889 million.
The budgeted amount for the allowances of customs staff is Rs3.29 billion that was up from Rs2.85 billion.
A significant amount of Rs102.1 million has been allocated for repairs and maintenance in Pakistan Customs during 2014/2015 showing an increase of about 60 percent when compared with the figures of Rs63.97 million.
Out of total estimated amount, Rs786 million has been allocated for operating expenses and Rs56.11 million for employees retirement benefits during the ongoing fiscal year.
The total expenses Rs6.12 billion on customs is about two percent of the estimated target of Rs281 billion, which can further reduced by enhancing the revenue collection from foreign trade.
Customs officials said that in order to improve efficiency in the customs department there is need to introduce advance technology and proper training to use equipment.
They said that in the era of computer majority of customs staff is unable to understand the computerized clearance so manual system is still prevailed.
They said that in anti-smuggling drive the customs officials were also not equipped with proper gadgets to deter illegal movement of goods.
They suggest there is need to invest in such avenues to improve the efficiency of customs department to improve duty collection.