The Secretary General meets with Pakistan’s Director General of Customs at WCO headquarters

12 octubre 2009

The Secretary General meets with Pakistan ’s Director General of Customs  at WCO headquarters

9 October 2009

Report

Kunio Mikuriya took advantage of the presence of Pakistan’s new Director General of Customs, Mr. Munir Qureshi, at WCO headquarters for a meeting of the SAFE Working Group, to hold talks with him about various issues related to the activities of Pakistan Customs, including in particular the introduction of container scanning, and security in general.

Pakistan’s geographical position, particularly as a transit country for Afghanistan, places it in the front line of the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

Trafficking in drugs and precursors is therefore one of the biggest challenges facing Pakistan Customs, as evidenced by the significant drug seizures made. Thanks to international co-operation and the use of risk assessment criteria, including those established by the WCO, Pakistan’s efforts have resulted in a seizure of 147 kg of heroin in China. Combating organized crime is another of the challenges being addressed by Pakistan Customs, with the aim of cutting off all sources of funds for terrorism.

In close co-operation with the United States, Pakistan Customs has launched a pilot project for the scanning of containers in Port Qasim. Forty Customs officers are permanently stationed on site, allowing for real-time management of the images both in Pakistan and in the United States. Exports to the United States are, essentially, textile goods, a factor which facilitates the control operations and the smooth flow of trade.

Bearing in mind that Customs collections make up 40 % of the State budget (of which 13% is represented by Customs duties), the financial crisis is having a very significant effect on the volume of Customs operations. Ensuring that the Customs service functions well is therefore essential for securing national revenue, as well as for the conduct of the many missions for which Customs is responsible.

Pakistan Customs has embarked on a process of reform, on the basis of the standards developed by the WCO. In this connection, Pakistan has acceded to the Revised Kyoto Convention and is implementing the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards.

New measures have been adopted in the area of integrity, ranging from the improvement of working conditions to the introduction of a “salary package” which includes additional benefits.

Mr. Qureshi said that Pakistan Customs is engaged in a process of restructuring and modernization, and is counting on the WCO, through its Columbus Programme, for assistance with this process.

Mr. Mikuriya thanked Mr. Munir Qureshi for this frank and direct discussion about the specific issues facing Pakistan Customs, and assured him of the WCO’s support for the Customs reform process initiated in Pakistan. He said: “ The WCO is doing everything it can to help its Members move forward with their modernization and capacity building in the current environment of global financial crisis and in the face of border security problems, and it welcomes Pakistan ’s increased commitment to this process. The Capacity Building Directorate is more than willing to undertake a comprehensive diagnostic of the needs of the Pakistan Customs Administration”.