KARACHI: Pakistan Customs in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan has automated the issuance of Import Form in the Customs Computerized System (WeBOC) as a trade facilitation and Customs modernization measure.
Importers would now not face any hassle to obtain I-Forms from banks instead they would just file an intention to import goods in the Computerized System and banks will issue the I-Form. I-Form is the instruments that accounts for repatriation of foreign exchange against imports.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar directed both the Departments in January this year to automate issuance of I-Form to document imports and payments against it in foreign exchange, prevent under-invoicing and transfer pricing and keep a paperless track of the money being sent abroad against imports.
The Directorate of Reforms and Automation-Customs, Karachi worked tirelessly to achieve the goal. After successful completion of the development and testing of the I-Form module, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Pakistan Customs and the State Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday at FBR House, the ceremony was witnessed by Finance Minister.
On this occasion Ishaq Dar praised the collaboration of the two departments and vowed to plug any loopholes in the system that might deprive Pakistan of even a single dollar in foreign exchange. He also stated that incidents of excess repatriation of foreign exchange were noticed which prompted him to direct FBR and SBP to automate the process.
Dar emphasized that the government of Nawaz Sharif is committed to facilitating genuine trade and the new system would enable the importers to obtain Electronic I-Forms while sitting in their office.
He hoped that issuance of Electronic I-Forms would reduce the cost of doing business and would ultimately lead to the development of National Single Window. Electronic Export form has already been automated October last year.
He also praised the efforts of Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan and State Bank in monitoring the development of computer software for the I-Form and its operationalization.
SBP being the regulator of financial transactions involved at imports and exports is a major stakeholder for Pakistan Customs regarding receipt of remittances against exports and payments of foreign exchange against imports.
Automation of SBP related activities therefore, a priority area for Pakistan Customs, an official told Customnews.pk. A major milestone was achieved both by the SBP and Customs when electronic E-Form module was successfully launched. The launch of Electronic E-Form module ensures that foreign exchange is duly remitted and the country is not deprived of its due share in foreign exchange.
The Minister for Finance and Revenue had directed that the process of issuance of I-Form may also be automated. In compliance with the directives, Directorate of Reforms and Automation-Customs in consultation with the SBP, have now been able to develop the Electronic I-Form Module in the Customs Computerized System (WeBOC).
This module would keep track of the value of imported goods and ensure that only such amount of foreign exchange is repatriated outside Pakistan that is the exact value of the imported goods. The launch of the Electronic I-Form would also enable the SBP to plug any loopholes in the accounting system of repatriated foreign exchange against imports.
Integrating the import process of Customs with the State Bank’s accounting system would enable both the departments to tackle the menace of under-invoicing, over-invoicing and transfer pricing which has recently been blamed for financing of undesirable activities.
The Electronic I-Form module would go a long way in enabling Pakistan Customs to expedite import and export clearances thus reducing the cost of doing business in Pakistan