The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has increased the financial security to be deposited by the new customs clearing agents from Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 500,000 for operating in one customs station and from Rs. 700,000 to Rs. 10,000,000 for operating on a national basis.
The FBR has issued SRO.2049(I)/2022 to amend the Customs Rules, 2001. Under the revised rules, on qualifying the test, the licensing Authority shall issue an approval letter in form “B” for issuance of a license to the new customs agents subject to the following conditions:- (a) the agent shall deposit as security in the shape of defense saving certificate for Rs. 500,000 for operating in one customs station and rupees ten hundred thousand only for operating on a countrywide basis, in the shape of Defence Saving Certificates pledged to the Collector of Customs.
Through the amended rules, the FBR will issue smart cards to the customs clearing agents to replace the existing license booklets. According to the revised rules, a smart card shall be issued in substitution of the existing license booklet, having all the following requisite information, namely:- license holder name with photograph; license type partnership, proprietorship, Association of Persons (AOP) or company; issuance and expiry date; ID card number and NTN of the licensee.
Under the revised rules, the Board has also revised conditions for the issuance of licenses to the customs agents for carrying out customs business. The eligibility criteria now also included sound financial records, duly verified by a bank.
The licensing authority shall put in place a mechanism to scrutinize the applications received and shortlist the eligible candidates. The list of eligible candidates shall be forwarded to Pakistan Customs Academy (PCA) to arrange a qualification test with a view to ascertain the knowledge of the applicants in Customs law, rules and procedures, and computer literacy. A simulation test shall also be conducted to ascertain the aptitude of the applicant for WeBOC and PSW, the FBR said.
The Licensing Authority may, on fulfilling all the conditions under these rules, grant a non-transferable license for a period initially for two years which shall be renewable after every two years subject to the prescribed conditions.
Subject to the fulfillment of the conditions provided for eligibility of the applicant, change of status of a firm from proprietorship or partnership to a company shall be allowed on submission of registration certificate with the SECP under the Companies Act, 2017 and on the successful passing of interview to be conducted by the licensing authority or any officer authorized in this behalf.
The applicant shall provide a sales tax registration certificate prior to issuance of the license or shall upload it into the system against a checkbox. A smart card shall be issued in substitution of the existing license booklet, having all the following requisite information including license holder name with photograph; license type partnership, proprietorship or AOP; issuance and expiry date; ID card number; and NTN of the licensee.
In case of self-clearance, the principal may apply for transaction-based or entity-based approval by the licensing authority or a designated officer not below the rank of assistant collector, by declaring the names and particulars of his employee or representatives authorized by him in this regard, the FBR added.