Customs to start Electronic ‘I’ Form to ease importers

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ISLAMABAD: To facilitate importers over payments of duties and taxes and to reduce the false import transactions, the Pakistan Customs is set to initiate Electronic ‘I’ Form here on Wednesday.

This was informed in an orientation session held at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), which was organised in collaboration with Collector of Customs, Model Customs Collectorate.

Senior officers of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Directorate General of Reforms and Automation (Customs), the State Bank of Pakistan director and officers from Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) addressed the session.

Directorate General of Reforms and Automation (Customs) Additional Director Abdul Haye Sheikh said that the development of EIF was in its final stages and issuance of EIF through WeBOC system would become mandatory for all imports, whether made through WeBOC or One Customs.

The importers operating in One Customs regime would also be required to have their ‘I’ Forms issued electronically through the WeBOC system.

He advised the traders who filed import goods declarations in the One Customs system to get their WeBOC user IDs to avoid any glitches in imports.

He said the prevailing import process carried opportunities for fraud and forgery, lacked monitoring and control.

There were chances of duplicate payment against a single consignment through banking channel, payment of import through informal channels and misdeclaration of value to Customs by not declaring mode of payment. However, the EIF system would address all these issues and manual issuance would be stopped with effect from a cut-off date to be notified by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

It would be mandatory for authorised dealers to fill the amount in EIF system at the time of import payment. The new system would also provide comprehensive visibility of data to SBP, banks and Customs through MIS reports and would help in reconciliation cases.

He said training programmes on EIF system for authorised dealers and users would also be arranged.

SBP Director Fazal Mahmood said that the EIF system would be a step towards documented economy and would discourage fraudulent import practices, adding that it would bring more efficiency in import processes, as importers would get rid of difficult and lengthy paper-based procedures.

He said SBP in collaboration with FBR was working to fully automate all imports and export processes so as to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

PRAL Senior Manager Arshad Hussain gave a detailed presentation on using EIF system to the business community.

In his message, ICCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh thanked the Federal Board of Revenue team for giving briefing about EIF and said that all redundant steps from import and export processes should be removed.

He said Customs should replace its manual systems and business processes with fully automated systems to facilitate the business community.

ICCI Vice President Sheikh Abdul Waheed on the occasion said that Customs should establish a help desk at ICCI to train importers on EIF system.

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