FAISALABAD: Sincere efforts are being made by the customs department to provide maximum import and export related facilities, said Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Adviser Kamal Shehar Yar, adding that in this connection, 44 different government departments are threshing out viable solutions under National Single Window (NSW) programme.
While addressing a consultation session jointly organised by the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) on the post-Brexit scenario and new GSP scheme of UK for Pakistan, he said that Pakistan customs is the lead agency for implementation on it under the supervision of a high-level steering committee.
“The NSW is a quantum jump from the current silo and paper-based management of Pakistan’s external trade involving 44 different government departments responsible to regulate different aspects of imports, exports and transit trade,” he apprised.
Elaborating further the adviser said that the current system is inefficient and opaque, which creates complications for traders and economic operators leading to increased costs and delays as well as lax government controls in carrying out cross border trade.
While quoting World Bank’s report on ease of doing business, he informed that the business community in Pakistan has incurred more than $400 million in extra costs as compared to the average cost for imports and exports in South Asian region, during the last one year. “Competitiveness of Pakistan to facilitate trade, attract investment, get integrated into global value chains and be a regional hub for trade and transit is seriously undermined,” he added.
Moreover, he said that the good news is that as the leading agency for NSW implementation; Pakistan customs, has not only made substantial progress on NSW implementation but, is also successfully improving cross border trade facilitation.
“The indigenously developed customs single window has already been implemented in the shape of WeBOC, which handles 90% of Pakistan’s external trade providing 24/7 paperless processing services.”
The adviser said that customs collects 48% of FBR’s total revenue; however, its role is undergoing a paradigm shift from a mere revenue collection and enforcement agency towards the lead facilitator of cross border trade.
He stated, “No doubt our export to the EU will remain intact while the UK has also assured to continue present system till the enforcement of new rules and regulations.
FCCI President Rana Sikandar Azam urged Pakistan to carve out proactive strategy in consultation with stakeholders to further enhance our export”.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2020.