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Conversion of Customs Intelligence Directorate into Revenue Board unit okayed

ISLAMABAD (May 23 2003) : Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has approved the conversion of Directorate of Customs Intelligence into the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) Intelligence Unit under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told Business Recorder that this conversion would take care of all the problems of the taxpayers created by any CBR staff.

The unit would be revamped into a professional institution.

The finance minister stated this at a briefing hosted by Customs Intelligence Director General Major General Syed Usman Shah (Retd) at his office, who is brought from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to strengthen the institution.

After the presentation of the DG, the minister, while talking to newsmen said the unit would be made a professional one through induction of trained manpower. The unit would prepare a monthly monitoring report.

Its role of monitoring at airports and roads would be curtailed by shifting focus on market-oriented intelligence.

Normally, everyone knows about the smuggled items, but the concerned officials are always unaware, which is a very sorry state of affairs.

He said that the time taken for Customs clearance (10-14 days on an average) at seaports would be reduced by ranking the nature of companies and their containers.

Serial numbers from 1-10 would be allotted to the companies and a higher risk number allotted to a company would have more checking and containers of lesser risk associated with a company would be released within 48 hours of its arrival at the ports.

A single page document has been introduced for the clearance of containers as a pilot project to facilitate importers.

The minister said that the proposed revamping would remove irritants and improve revenue service.

It also included cut in tax rates and expanding tax base. With expansion of tax base the tax rates would fall.

The role of Directorate of Custom Intelligence would be shifted form enforcement to first class intelligence organisation.

There were a few improvements at the tactical level, Shaukat said.

This unit would keep an eye on the internal situation of the organisation as well as market information and more resources would be given to the new set up.

They would also kept abreast with the best international practices.

This new set up would also check the institutional Customs evasion and would plug leakage.

There were reports of large-scale under-invoicing in the paper industry.

He also said that smuggling has a direct link with the tariff on imported goods, which has been reduced drastically in the last few years.

This has cut the volume of smuggling.

The minister said that passengers have almost no problems at the airports in clearance of their luggage.

Customs Intelligence DG Usman Shah said that vigilance and integrity management was being introduced at the departmental level.

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