KARACHI: The leniency on part of Secretary Sales Tax FBR has resulted in a loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer as sales tax exemption continued to be available for importers despite being withdrawn.

Sources said that the concerned authorities has initiated inquiry into the matter so that the responsibility could be duly fixed.

FBR vide SRO 486(I)/2015 had withdrawn the exemption of sales tax levy on import of maize starch classifiable under HS Code 1108.1200 notified vide SRO 1125(I)/2011.

However, the same was not updated or omitted in WeBOC system and reference HS Code is still reflected in the SRO 1125 exemption list in the system.

Hence, the importers of this commodity continued to avail inadmissible exemption owning to non-updating of the system.

Sources said collector MCC Appraisement East Majid Yousafani had this information and subsequently a number of cases were identified where a substantial amount of Rs12.8 million has been evaded.

Sources said the recovery of the said amount has already been generated in the recovery module of the WeBOC system.

The FBR has been requested to feed the amendment withdrawing the exemption on import of maize starch into the system.

Official said the Customs clearing agents were equally responsible in claiming the inadmissible concessions.

According to Clearing Agents Licensing Rules, the agents are bound to claim the exemptions and concessions inadmissible. But, the agents knowing the exemption had been withdrawn claimed the benefit.

The information regarding this non-updating of system has already been circulated to all formations.

Collector Appraisement West Agha Jawad has advised Ghulam Nabi Kamboh to scrutinize the import data so that this revenue leakage could be avoided.

Similarly, Collector Port Qasim Surayya Ahmed Butt has advised Nayyar Shafique to scrutinize the import data so that this revenue leakage could be avoided.