Budget Proposals: Directorate of Automation and Reforms suggests amendments in Custom Rules, Act

KARACHI: The Directorate of Automation and Reforms-Customs has proposed certain amendments in Customs Rules 2001, Customs Act 1969 and Sales Tax Act 1990 to facilitate trade and clearance as well as streamlining revenue collection.

The Directorate has proposed in its budget proposals that In the light of international best practices and identification of cargo and to mitigate the chances of wrong BL claimed by the trader at the earlier stage, it is proposed that the column of NTN may be added in the existing format of IGM.

In the wake of initiating Transshipment of LCL cargo from off dock sea port/terminal to upcountry port or Customs station under Customs Computerized System, the rule 423 may be amended for appropriate legal coverage and the words ‘port of entry’ should be replaced with the words ‘one port or customs station’.

Only such FCL goods as have been distinctly manifested for transshipment are allowed transshipment facilities from port of entry. In order to clearly define the type of cargo allowed for transshipment from port of entry, the word “FCL” shall be added in limitation clause of Rule 487. Loose cargo should also be allowed transshipment from off-dock terminals to Custom station of destination without payment of duty/taxes.

As per the system developed with the approval and concurrence of all collectors, TP GD can be filed only by the importer or his authorized clearing agent. There is no provision for filing of TP GD by the bonded carrier as per existing system. Keeping uniformity of the scheme of filing TP GD, it is recommended that the proposed change may be considered.

There is a limitation on the part of terminal operations that in pre gate message they are unable to feed vehicle registration number, therefore, the same may be omitted from the limitation of rule 495.

The WeBOC and computer system of terminal operator communicate through EDI. This is not possible to read scanned image through EDI mechanism. Therefore, the rule may be amended.

There is no provision of electronic filing of cargo arrival report in the system. This function is performed by the gate-in staff and is further verified by the de-sealing staff at the port of destination and for reconciliation of TP containers, the provision of viewing the TPs filed against BLs should be made available in the Id of AC/DC MIS and AC MCD of port of embarkation and port of destination.

TP GDs are only subjected to the selectivity criteria at the port of entry. RMS is run on these consignments at the port of destination. The system, therefore, does not have the provision for marking TP GD to the terminal operator on the basis of RMS decision before it hands the cargo over to the bonded carrier. Therefore, all goods under transshipment to inland destinations or Customs-stations should be subject to the selectivity criteria determined on importability status.

Since WeBOC system is being rolled out encompassing the collectorates and directorates of Customs Department e.g. Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation, PCA etc. and the format of messaging between Customs Computerized System and terminal operator may be defined and determined by any concerned field formations, therefore format of messaging between PACCS and terminal operator (off dock terminal) should be as defined and determined by the Directorate General of Reforms and Automation, including various codes in the message should have the meaning as assigned to each by the Director and communicated to the Terminal Operator under receipt and any subsequent additions or amendments in the number, format, codes or meaning of the messages shall be communicated to the Terminal Operator under receipt at least four weeks prior from the date of implementation.

The GD filing at subsequent stage after de-sealing at off-dock terminal as envisaged in Rule 556C(3) is in contradiction of the provision of if advance GD filing under 79(1) of the Customs Act, 1969. Therefore, the provision of filing advance GD before de-sealing at off-dock terminal after Inter Port Movement (IPM) of cargo has been incorporated in WeBOC. Therefore, it is proposed that in case the Customs seal affixed on a container is found broken or tampered with, the respective container shall be examined 100 percent by the Customs staff in the presence of Off-dock Terminal Operator and a representative of the Bonded Carrier; an inventory of the goods contained in such containers shall be prepared and signed by all witnesses. This inventory shall form a part of the Goods Declaration (GD) filed omitted for clearance purposes.

The rule 556C)4) allows change in the manifested TI quantities against payment of fine/penalty if in there is a difference of more than 5.0 percent in the gross weight recorded at port of entry vis-à-vis weight found at destination off-dock terminal. As existing system, a discrepancy report is generated by the system which is visible to the assessing officer, examining officer as well as AC/DC IP for taking appropriate legal action against the carrier. Therefore, it is proposed that the provision ‘in case, there is a difference or variation in gross weight recorded at port of entry vis-à- vis the weight found at destination Off-dock Terminal, the Assistant or Deputy Collector IP shall proceeds against the carrier as per relevant law and rules’ should be omitted.

In Budget 2013-14 and 2014-15, the name of PACCS was replaced with Customs in Computerized System, but still at some places the old name is being reflected, therefore, Where ever the words PACCS appears, it should be replaced with Customs Computerized System.

There is a dire need to put off dock terminals under the jurisdiction of Customs so that off terminals may also be held responsible in case of any untoward incident. In order to harmonize procedure of re-export of imported consignments in terms of Export policy order with the automated environment, the new draft may be considered for approval in budget 2014-15 .

Since automated system is based on self assessment of trader regarding duty and taxes leviable on goods, therefore, the trader must mention Valuation Ruling if exists on certain PCT of goods for complete declaration of goods. This will assist Risk t Management system in building profile of the trader and increasing Green channel clearances.

Principally, the owner of the goods is responsible for payment of duty and taxes of the goods to be warehoused in case of any loss, damage, pilferage, replacement and theft, therefore, he should be held responsible for transfer of goods from Customs Station to warehouse.

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