KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has formed a committee comprising officers of both Inland Revenue and Customs to curb smuggling of petroleum products, which has been causing irreparable loss to the national economy.[the_ad id=”31605″]According to a goods transport association, almost 200,000 to 500,000 litres of oil is being transported to Rahim Yar Khan daily through various routes. Initially, the tankers carrying this smuggled oil entered Balochistan from Iran and after passing through dozens of customs and police checkposts they enter Rahim Yar Khan from Kashmore, Kot Sabzal and Shaheed Benazir Bridge at Chachran Sharif.
These tankers then unload the petrol and diesel at specific warehouses from where this oil is shifted to various petrol pumps either in company tankers or small tankers of petroleum agencies.
These illegal petroleum agencies running several petrol mumps were the main beneficiaries of the smuggled petrol and diesel as they would purchase the fuel for Rs20 to Rs30 per litre.
The joint committee includes Additional Commissioner Nisar Ahmed Burki; Deputy Commissioners Mohsin Ali Shah, Bilal Jafferi and Asif Nazir Sheikh; IR-Audit Officers Altaf Hussain Memon and Mujeeb Sasir; Senior Auditors Naeem Akbar, Lal Khan, Muhammad Arshad Khan and Inspector-IR Muhammad Irfan. The Customs Wing of the FBR will nominate Customs officers for the team.
The committee will also monitor oil marketing companies (OMCs) to curb use of smuggled petroleum products, as certain OMCs are found to be patronizing transport and distribution of smuggled petroleum products. The transporters involved in smuggling of petroleum products particularly diesel, also transport the smuggled products. In several cases smugglers have been found to misuse the documentation relating to transport of legally imported products issued by OMCs.
FBR has already obtained data of imports of crude oil from customs authorities and refineries. Similar exercise has been done in case of import of finished petroleum products by OMCs and their subsequent sales to distributors or other OMCs. Data of throughput by refiners is also obtained to match with sales of OMCs.
During the past few months, the customs intelligence has taken large scale operations and recovered Iranian oil smuggled into Pakistan and also arrested number of persons.
An official said that apart from smuggling of petroleum products, illicit trade of many importable goods has risen to a maximum extent primarily due to the imprudent policies of the government. Imposition of regulatory duties and other barriers have reduced the imports about 30 percent, which would be reflected in the numbers of March 2019, the official said.