KARACHI: Pakistan Customs, in a presentation to World Bank representatives, has highlighted several errors as well as assumptions incorporated in Trading Across Borders components of Doing Business Report 2017 prepared by World Bank Group (WBG).
The WBG Report maintained Pakistan’s Doing Business rank at 172 for 2017, which is same as was in 2016. However Distance to Frontiers (DTF) score in 2017 is raised to 39.41 percent compared with 38.11 percent in 2016. An economy’s distance to frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier.
Chief Collector South Abdul Rasheed Shaikh formed a team comprising Collector MCC West Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi, Additional Director WeBOC Hai Shaikh, Additional Collector Exports Port Qasim Mohammad Raza and Additional Collector Sadia Sheeraz to scrutinize the WBG data and report anomalies if any.
After a hectic exercise, the said team prepared a presentations which was given to the WBG representatives. The presentation highlights many errors including several assumptions in the study as electronic data is available which controverts the inaccurate information presented in the study.
The WBG reports that the import border compliance time in Pakistan under PCT 8708 is 129 hours including 34 hours for customs clearance, 30 hours spent with additional government agencies and 65 hours for terminal and port processing at Port Qasim. The import border compliance cost is reported at $957 including $285 customs agents fee, $252 excise duty, $90 other agency fee and $330 terminal and container handling fees.
On the other hand, Pakistan Customs finds average Customs clearance time under PCT Code 8708: 80 percent of the consignments are cleared within 24 Hours. Average Import border Compliance Cost is $272-$330 including Customs Agent fee $95 (20ft) and $140 (40ft); Provincial Excise Duty is $1.14/MT (upto 10 MT) and $1.15/MT (above 10 MT) while container handling fee is Rs8,000 (w/o examination) and Rs13,000 (with examination).
Import Documentary Compliance Time by WBG is reported to be 147 hours, which includes the time for document preparation, processing, presenting, and submitting all documents required by the origin economy, the destination economy, and the transit economy. The web-based customs platform as well as the real time electronic data exchange with China, under the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement has facilitated the documentary submission process and improvements to the system have reduced time compared to last year, however there are still a lot of personal interactions and most of the documents need to be obtained in paper and presented in paper.
WBG reports Import Documentary Compliance Cost at $786, which is the total cost private sector contributors reported paying in order to obtain all documents required by law and in practice during the import process. During the import process, contributors confirmed that the web-based customs platform aims at streamlining the processes, nonetheless, there are still cumbersome steps.
Customs team led by Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi clarified that there is no documentary requirement except FTA certificate only in case of imports from Iran and Sri Lanka and maximum time is 48 hours in PCT 8708 while average import documentary total Cost is $180-$250.
It was also clarified to the WBG representatives during the presentation that importers and their agents could also explain actual situation to the WB representatives.