Upcoming Budget to Tighten The Noose Against Smugglers

Industry

The government has proposed to impose penalties on retailers who sell smuggled goods to consumers without documents of imported goods.

This is one of the several proposals under consideration for the upcoming budget to improve enforcement against smuggling and under-invoicing while facilitating small enterprises.

According to a media report, such penalties would aid in curbing sales of smuggled goods. The maximum penalty could include confiscation of the retail shop.

If implemented, this penalty would be made part of the Customs Act. The practice of holding retailers accountable is not unusual. In 2019, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) field formations raided few notable retailers in major cities across the country to check documents of imported goods.

However, since this enforcement drive was not legally supported at the time, it was discontinued.

Now, along with legally enforcing the checks and penalties, the government is also considering making invoicing mandatory for the clearance of imported cargo. The proposed penalty for the missing invoices would range from Rs. 100,000 (Rs. 0.1 million) to Rs. 1 million. It could also lead to the suspension of the user ID. This will also help to control the menace of under-invoicing.

Under proposed measures is also the right to confiscate a vehicle if it is used three times to transport smuggled goods. For now, the vehicle seized along with smuggled goods is released after payment of penalties. Now it is being proposed that after seizure three times, such vehicles may be completely confiscated.

On the other end of the spectrum of facilitating businessmen, it has been proposed to introduce the concept of a common bonded warehouse, which will cater to the needs of small and medium entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, the government will be bound to complete adjudication and give a final decision at ports, dry ports, and airports within a period of 30 days.

License holders will also be given full time of explanation to clear their position, without their licenses being suspended unilaterally.

Source: Pro Pakistani