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Corruption in customs

Friday, 31 Jul, 2009

ACCORDING to a news item, the CBR has been directed by the Chief Justice to conduct a probe into the affairs of the customs department. Businessmen have long known about the notorious corruption in the customs department, particularly in the clearance of goods at dry ports.

Recently, after officials began conducting detailed examinations of the containers, more than three times the revenue is now being collected at the Islamabad dry port, despite a notorious contractor’s claim that he would transfer any official who dares to open his containers to Quetta.

It is now apparent that the government does not need to impose taxes on petroleum products or other goods to make ends meet. All that is required is strict vigilance at the ports (including Karachi and Bin Qasim) and recover duties and taxes according to the real value of the goods being imported.

However, at the same time, strict measures are needed to curb smuggling. It is well-known that smugglers are responsible for the closure of many factories, as well as depriving the government of much-needed revenue. But the question is: will the government have the courage to tackle the smugglers’ mafia?

SHAKIR LAKHANI
Karachi
DAWN, July 31, 2009

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