ISLAMABAD: As per the instructions of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, the board has initiated a phased programme to combat the sale of smuggled goods in the local market.
According to a statement issued by the FBR on Saturday, “Special joint teams of the FBR will be visiting major shopping areas, especially large retailers, to check the documents of the imported goods available for sale and to ensure compliance to various requirements of the law with effect from September 1, 2019.”
Under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1969, the FBR has the powers to seek documents for the imported goods available for sale to consumers from the person dealing in such goods.
The FBR said, “This exercise does not represent ‘raid’ on the premises or any coercive action against the traders. The purpose of this exercise is only to ensure that relevant import documents are available and foreign goods available for sale are properly backed by documents.”
The revenue board continued, “It has been decided that such exercises will be undertaken on ‘test’ check basis. All teams will be conducting respective identification as being officially designated and the team will be headed by a senior person.
“In case, for any reason, such documents are not readily available at the shops/offices then teams will provide adequate opportunity to submit the document in the respective offices/ shops after a reasonable time.”
As per the FBR statement, Customs (Operations) member and Inland Revenue (Operations) member had been directed to supervise the activity and provide complete assistance to the joint teams wherever required.
Customs (Intelligence & Investigation) director general and Inland Revenue (Intelligence & Investigation) director general had also been directed to constitute joint teams, it added.
FBR stated that the traders could lodge complaints against any undesirable activity by the special joint teams by reporting at its helpline (email and telephone).
“The purpose of taking this step is to expedite the drive against smuggling and to protect the local economy of the country. The government is undertaking various steps to curb these undesirable practices and inter alia some actions to this effect have also been incorporated in the Finance Act, 2019,” the statement concluded.