ISLAMABAD (October 16 2004): The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) are jointly devising a procedure to check smuggling of foreign currency and regulate its transactions through legal banking channels.
The SBP will issue new instructions to the customs authorities for taking extra precautionary measures while providing all necessary documents required by customs for taking action against the smugglers of foreign currencies.
Official sources told Business Recorder here on Friday that the CBR has moved a request to SBP Governor Dr Ishrat Husain to draft a circular for streamlining the functions of customs officials pertaining to import and export of Pakistani and foreign currencies.
The CBR has asked the SBP that the draft circular should contain consolidated instructions on the powers and responsibilities of customs staff under the law issued from time-to-time. Keeping in view the SBP recommendations, the CBR will be in a position to devise a new mechanism of import and export of currency.
While appreciating the SBP's efforts in checking smuggling of foreign currency, the CBR has conveyed to the SBP governor that timely communication between the CBR and SBP has helped a lot in unearthing smuggling of foreign currency cases. However, the loopholes can now be plugged by prompt action in the best public interest, the CBR added.
The official said that the customs need a clear cut circular which should incorporate all the SBP circulars, customs powers and other related instructions regarding import and export of currency.
The government has taken a number of measures for controlling the movement of foreign currency. The effective monitoring is in place at airports for stopping carrying cash by individuals beyond permissible limit.
However, the individuals usually misuse the permissible limit of $10,000 per person while going abroad.
These people frequently visit the UAE and other nearby countries every week and each time carry $10,000 with them. They have also adopted other means of smuggling.
The CBR has proposed a number of steps to the SBP for controlling misuse of the facility. The CBR has proposed to the SBP to only permit facility of $10,000 to the outgoing passengers in a specific time period like once in three months.
The CBR had recently issued instructions to all the airports to check illicit trade of currency, compact disc (CDs), narcotics and live animals/birds.
The CBR has asked the collectors to take stern action against the staff found involved in such cases under Section 156 (Punishments to Custom Officers) of the Customs Act, 1969.