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Saturday 1st April 2023 / 10 Ramadhan 1444

FTO orders release of seized soybean seeds

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has declared that the seizing of consignments containing Soybean and other such items at Karachi ports as illegal and ordered to release the same at the earliest.

The FTO rejected all the arguments given by food security and FBR officials, declaring that halting the consignments at port was in violation of import-related rules. 

The Federal Tax Ombudsman ordered to release the stuck up consignment, to which Customs officials agreed. It has been learnt that the entire consignment would be released within 10 days, and the off-loading process will begin today.

It may be mentioned here that the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) had approached FTO apprising it about stuck-up consignments of imported soybean, i.e., poultry feed at Port Qasim, Karachi by the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) Customs, Karachi and Department of Plant Protection.

Also read: PPA appeals PM to stop closure of poultry industry

The PPA informed FTO that due to the non-availability of the imported feed, it was apprehended that the poultry farms would shut down their operations across the country. There is no alternative of soybean or soybean meal for the poultry feed as further delay in clearance of the imported consignments would result in a severe shortage of chicken and eggs in the country, the industry shared consequences of the issue with the FTO.

To immediately resolve the issue, the FTO has intervened to clear the stuck-up consignments of the imported soybean and taken suo motu notice of the case. The FTO has issued notices to the secretary Revenue Division; secretary Ministry of Food Security and Research; secretary Ministry of Climate Change; director general Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation-Customs, Chief Customs (F&C), Federal Board of Revenue and Chaudhary Muhammad Ashraf chairman Pakistan Poultry Association for hearing of the case on December 8, 2022.

The Pakistan Poultry Association informed the FTO about the current situation of the poultry feed mills to continue their production because of the non-availability of soybean and soybean meal which is the most essential feed ingredient.

A preliminary hearing in the said complaint had been held on November 30, 2022, wherein, the secretary general Pakistan Poultry Association, Islamabad, appeared and provided copies of letters issued by the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation-Customs, Karachi and the Department of Plant Protection, and stated that due to departure from established practice, unreasonable, unjust, biased, discriminatory and without jurisdiction intervention of the Directorate of I&I Customs, Karachi, the Department of Plant Protection is not issuing the required NOCs for clearance of their legally imported nine consignments of soybean, stuck up at Port M Bin Qasim, Karachi, which is tantamount to maladministration and needs the intervention of the FTO in the matter.

Later, the FTO ordered to conduct an investigation of the said complaint and the hearing of the subject complaint was fixed at the FTO Secretariat.

It is required to appear for hearing on the date and time afore-stated personally or through a duly-appointed attorney or departmental representative not below the status of BS-18/19, with para-wise comments along with all the relevant record, evidence and witnesses, the FTO’s notice said.

After today’s hearing the FTO declared that stopping the off-loading of the consignments was in violation of the import-related rules, and that not only the off-loading would begin today, but FTO would itself supervise the entire process.

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