PESHAWAR: The Collectorate of Customs has detected a case of evasion of Electronic Import Form (EIF) requirement by some importers who claimed exemption under Chapter 99 of the HS Codes at the time of filing Goods Declarations (GDs) in the WeBOC system.

According to a press release issued by the Collectorate, during the course of post release verification, 48 GDs of different importers having assessed value amounting to Rs.423.655 million were found cleared without attachment of EIF/Financial Instrument (FI).

On further probe it was transpired that they had claimed exemption under Chapter 99 which was subsequently disallowed by the concerned officials of the Collectorate and they paid all the duties and taxes accordingly. However, due to claiming exemption of Chapter 99 (9910) at the time of filing of GDs, the WeBOC System removed the requirement of EIF and the same check was not restored even after disallowing the claimed exemption.

The importers were able to circumvent the EIF requirement due to some technical issue in the WeBOC. The Director General R&A has already been requested for making necessary changes in the System.

The Collectorate has forwarded contraventions reports in all such cases for adjudication and orders have been issued to prevent the recurrence of such incidents till necessary changes are made in the WeBOC.

The current WeBOC module of GD filing read with State Bank of Pakistan’s Foreign Exchange Manual inter alia requires that the importer submit EIF request electronically through WeBOC to a branch of an Authorized Dealer of its choice.

The respective branch then electronically approve or reject EIF request after fulfillment of requirements against particular mode of payment as contained in the Foreign Exchange Manual. After electronic approval of EIF by the Authorized Dealer, the importer then attached GD in WeBOC with the respective EIF for clearance of goods.

In absence of EIF, WeBOC does not allow filing of GD. In exceptional cases, where the relevant Customs Officer (not below the rank of Additional Collector) is satisfied, the waiver of EIF is granted and GD can be filed without EIF.

Similarly, if the exemption under HS Codes (PCT Headings) 9901,9902, 9903, 9905, 9908, 9909, 9910, 9911, 9913 & 9916 is claimed at the time of filing of GD, EIF requirement is waived by the system.

Some unscrupulous elements have exploited this exemption of EIF by claiming exemption under the aforesaid HS Codes of Chapter 99 at the time of filing of GD in respect of their imports, despite the fact that the aforesaid HS Codes do not apply to them to get the waiver from EIF in the system.

In cases where the Department detected this issue, the exemption under Chapter 99 was denied, but the importer can still get away with the waiver as WeBOC does not require EIF at assessment stage of GD.

Foregoing in view, Collector MCC Peshawar Muhammad Ashfaq recommended that in cases where a GD is filed without requirement of EIF by claiming exemption under Chapter 99 or other such provisions, if at a later stage it is discovered that the GD was wrongfully filed without EIF, the WeBOC system should require EIF before any further processing on the GD when that exemption is revoked.

This requirement of EIF should get enabled in WeBOC automatically in such cases at the processing stage.