KARACHI: The Directorate of Reforms and Automation has modified the settings of WeBOC system for all the users, which has complicated the assessment process and at the same time opened doors for mistakes/blunders and revenue leakage.
According to details, earlier the search settings of WeBOC system accepted description of goods, but now the settings have been changed from description based search to Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) based search.
Earlier, the user put the description in the system for searching, and the system used to display all the details related to the entered description including PCT, classification in wrong description if any and all relevant applicable SROs. But now, the WeBOC is not entertaining description based search, and it demands the PCT.
This modification in the system has made things way more complicated and chances of mistakes and blunders have increased manifold. Since, there are thousands of PCT codes and no official can memorize all the PCTs and associated notifications and SROs.
Pakistan Customs has recently appointed fresh appraising officers, and these modifications have made the work for these new appraising officers even more difficult.
The policy on the part of top authorities is beyond understandable as the appraising officers are discouraged from calling the relevant documents and creating examination of the imported consignments.
An official said it is the discretion of the assessment officers whether to call documents and create examination, but senior officers advising the assessment staff not to call documents or create examination is undue interference in the work of assessment staff.
Similarly, Deputy/Assistant collectors randomly allow or reject the examinations and document call raised by the assessment staff. There is no fix pattern in this regard.
Chemicals is a very sensitive item, as a single chemical can be described with over a dozen names and descriptions. Principal Appraiser Jawed Akhtar was an expert in Chemicals, who has retired while another chemical expert Principal Appraiser Muzaffar Rizvi is retiring soon. The authorities did not make arrangements to replace this expertise; as such there would be no experts in chemicals.
The official said in case of chemicals import, calling test reports, literature and examination should be mandatory, but these sensitive goods are imported and cleared as the regular harmless goods.
The official said such a modification in the WeBOC system should have been planned properly and the assessment staff should have been trained prior to such development.