LAHORE - Under Invoicing and Afghan Transit Trade are hitting the economy hard and the Federal Board of Revenue is evolving a solid and foolproof strategy to tackle these issues once for all. Member (Customs) FBR Munir Ahmad Qureshi stated this while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. LCCI President Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, Foremer Presidents Mian Anjum Nisar, Mian Muzaffar Ali and former Vice Presidents Shahzad Ali Malik and Aftab Ahmad Vohra also spoke on the occasion. The Member Customs FBR said that the Afghan Transit Trade agreement, which was signed in 1965, was being renegotiated, as the government understands well that the issue was not only hitting the revenue generation but also heavily impacting upon the competitiveness of the country. He said that there was no second opinion about it that policy reforms were badly needed to check the misuse of Afghan Transit Trade and the government had taken up the issue at the highest level to ensure necessary amendments in the ATT agreement. The Member Customs said that the government wanted to promote the local industry and that was the only reason that ATT agreement was being renegotiated. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry stressed the need for a cordial, professional and working relationship between the private and the public sectors for resource mobilization and generation of initiatives through direct and indirect taxation measures. The harassment associated with assessment and revenue collection exercise has in fact hit the very basis of the business confidence discouraging the pursuance of healthy economic activity at national levels. He said that order to boost the international trade, delays in processing and dispatch of consignments must be avoided by taking sincere and appropriate measures with the intention to reduce time taken in the process of valuation and assessment of the goods. Formulation of simplified and business friendly procedures is the need of the hour, and their implementation is a prerequisite. He said that existing procedures should be reviewed and revamped in consultation with the stakeholders The LCCI President said that rate of valuation of imported items should be uniform and same for the same goods on all ports of the country. As presently valuations on different rates are in practice on different ports. The rate applied at Lahore is far different than that of rate applied at Karachi port. Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry said that smuggling had always disturbed the business and economic environment in Pakistan therefore it was suggested to reduce the duty up to 10% on all the items prone to smuggling. He said that the Government should also ensure a foolproof checking system to have a microscopic check on the misuse of consignments of Afghan Transit Trade. The LCCI President said that was a very common complaint of theft of cargo at the ports, such practices should be dealt with iron hand Customs Department should engage all stakeholders especially chambers and concerned associations in the process of evaluation. He said that non-acceptance of valuation evidence of other ports at Lahore Dry Port was creating problems therefore the valuation evidence of other ports must be accepted at LDP. The issue of delay in examination for valuation purpose must be given serious attention. The LCCI President also suggested that inclusion of weight of retail packing in assessable value of items being assessed on weight basis should be stopped immediately. Demurrage should be charged keeping in mind the reasons of delay either caused by Customs Department or the Importer. The time limit should start form the time of dispatch of cargo from the port and not from the loading of cargo, to calculate the demurrage period.