Importers now required to wait till clearance process completes


ISLAMABAD: The importers are now required to wait for clearance of imported consignments under the Web-Based One Custom (WEBOC) system till their deposited banking instruments including cheques/pay orders completes the clearing process of the banking channel, which may take 2-3 working days.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Thursday that the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has issued instruction circular of 135 of 2020 (Government transactions-Processing of duties and taxes through WEBOC).

A tax expert said that this circular has been issued on the observation that goods declarations (GDs) are being issued against collection of clearing instruments, which now has been advised to all concerned ensuring that only preliminary acknowledgement of the receipt of cheques/pay order be given on prescribed form at the time of receipt of clearing instrument whereas posting in the WEBOC and the issuance of the GDs will be subject to clearing.

According to the circular, the attention is invited to circular number 39 of 2006, dated June 5, 2006 wherein section 79 (i) (a) of the Federal Treasury Rules related to cheques tendered in payment of government dues is reproduced for a ready reference:

79. (1) (a) At places where the cash business of the treasury is conducted by the Bank, cheques on local and outstation banks may be accepted in payment of Government dues, or in settlement of other transactions with the Government, if the cheques have been crossed by the drawer or the acceptance of uncrossed cheques in that class of transactions has been permitted by the Government. Until, however, a cheque has been cleared, the Government cannot admit that payment has been received and consequently final receipt shall not be granted when a cheque is tendered. A receipt for the actual cheque only may be given in the first instance, but if a person making payment in this manner so desires, a formal payment receipt shall be sent to his address after the cheque has been cleared. Collection charges of the Bank, if any, will be recovered by or under instructions of the Bank from the party presenting the cheque, it added.

The bank’s circular said that it has been observed that our customs authorized branches after introduction of the WEBOC system are not adhering to the above mentioned circular and GDs are being issued against collection of clearing instruments. A further clarification of the issue has been taken from the SBP and the SBP has advised to enforce the Federal Treasury Rules 79 (1) (a).

Keeping in view the above facts, it is advised to all concern to ensure that only preliminary acknowledgment of the receipt of the cheque/pay order be given on prescribed form at the time of receipt of clearing instrument. Posting in the WEBOC and the issuance of the Goods Declaration will be subject to clearing, it said.

Below is the format of the preliminary acknowledgment of the cheque/pay order: Received cheque number; for rupees; drawn on; ‘on account of’ and NTN number.

In case of short of funds, at the time of issuance of GD, the remaining balance will be paid through cash or non-clearing instrument.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the NBP reserve to themselves the right to refuse to accept cheques the collection of which, in their opinion, cannot reasonably be undertaken and which they would not accept on behalf of their own constituents.

The regional executive operations and regional heads should ensure the compliance of the above instructions regarding collection of duties and taxes through WEBOC system. In case of any deviation from the prescribed parameters, the delinquent official will be taken to task and an appropriate action will be taken against them as per laid down rules and procedures identified in the EDP, circular added.