ISLAMABAD (our reporter):- The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched ‘Automated Currency Declaration System to in order to facilitate the taxpayers and the passengers flying in and out of the country.
Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin, presided over the launching ceremony at FBR (HQs), Islamabad as the Chief Guest. Chairman FBR/Secretary Revenue Division Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Chairman NADRA Mr. Tariq Malik and DG FIA Mr. Sanaullah Abbasi were present on the occasion.
Speaking to the august gathering comprising of all FBR Members, dignitaries, senior officers and media representatives, Finance Minister congratulated Chairman FBR and his team for making this long-awaited initiative possible in a short period of time. He stated that the government was focusing on the documentation of economy to broaden the tax base. “This aim can only be achieved through the use of technology and automation with review of existing procedures and processes,” he remarked. He further added that Inter-agency coordination and cooperation was sine qua non for the success of all efforts of business process re-engineering and adoption of new framework for implementation of rules & regulations. “To achieve the goal of documentation of economy and to bring more transparency in the economic transactions, documentation of flow of foreign currency in and out of the country is pivotal,” he continued.
Presently, Currency Declarations (CDs) are obtained randomly from the passengers coming to or going out the country through Airports. Currency Declarations are manually secured in shape of hard copies and are then entered into the System manually in batches. For millions of passengers coming in and going out from the country, it is an uphill task, especially, with very little resources in comparison with the challenges faced by Pakistan Customs and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Since the current Currency Declaration System (CDS) was not working to achieve the goal of complete documentation of foreign currency movement, a new system was envisaged by FBR. This digital system was developed with the assistance of NADRA and FIA and will now be deployed at all International Airports, starting from Islamabad International Airport. “This new system will be a hassle free and time saving, one stop solution for all incoming and outgoing passengers,” Finance Minister remarked.
The FBR is also working on securing data from banks and State Bank of Pakistan along with integration of Currency Exchange Companies with POS. This will culminate into greater visibility and capturing information which could then be used for analysis or audit purposes. The data captured through POS and CDS will then be shared with all relevant agencies including SBP, FIA, Customs, IRS etc. for further necessary action as per law. This end-to-end visibility of foreign currency market will bring a semblance of stability in the market and will also be instrumental in countering money laundering and currency smuggling. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, later, formally launched the ‘Automated Currency Declaration System’ by pressing the button. He commended all three government organizations -FBR, FIA and NADRA-for working in unison and kick starting this significant step.
Earlier, Chairman FBR/Secretary Revenue Division welcomed the Honorable Finance Minister on this auspicious occasion. He explained the scope and significance of ‘Automated Currency Declaration System’. He further reiterated that FBR had been swiftly moving to automation and digitization to promote transparency and reliability. In his talk, he explained the salient features of ‘Automated Currency Declaration System’ and added that the system would save time and ensure credibility. He further added that this digital intervention would also capture Currency Declarations data not only at Airports but also at land border stations where immigration desks were available and IBMS (Integrated Border Management System) of FIA was working. He further reassured that the integration of IBMS and FBR’s WeBOC System for this new endeavour in active technical cooperation of NADRA was the start of a new phase of cooperation among key agencies of the government and would pave the way for more collaborative initiatives in future. He particularly commended NADRA and FIA for providing much needed support in materializing this digital intervention. These meaningful synergies and enduring collaborations will certainly contribute significantly to ensuring ease of doing business while, simultaneously, maximizing tax compliance, he concluded.