In response to a news item appearing in a local daily of December 05, 2009 calling for evidence against malpractices in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Pakistan Poultry Association humbly presents facts that, we feel, clearly establish malpractice, coercion and collusion by CAA and its appointed agents in collection of throughput charges (tax) on cargo received at the airports. It may be stated here that until 27th July 2009, under a contact that was awarded by the CAA, an agent was authorized to collect 2% on international deplaned cargo arriving at Air Freight Unit and 5% on international deplaned cargo at Immediate Clearance Group, same day clearance at Air Freight Unit, Cold Storage and Dangerous Goods. The throughput charges were to be levied on the actual value of the Airway Bill. That a change was brought about effective 28-07-2009 by means of a simple letter dated 18-08-2009 giving the contactor a right to disregard the value of the Airway bill and instead multiply the cargo weight by the 'N rate, which means the highest rate allowed by IATA chargeable on 1 kg. of cargo to collect 5% levy on the amount so arrived at. It is noteworthy that IATA has a declining slab rate with increased quantities, 1 kg. being the minimum and the highest For instance, the 'N rate for 1 kg of hatching eggs from New York to Lahore on PIA is $11.50 and the rate for a consignment of above 500 kg is $7.50. However, the airlines have a right to charge lower rate to attract business as application of full rate would exceed even the FOB value of hatching eggs, thereby making the shipment of hatching eggs impossible. Airway bills showing charges before and after 27-07-2009 clearly shows that while throughput tax collector at Lahore is charging 5% on the highest normal tariff of 1 kg consignment disregarding the actual rate charged by the airline, the Islamabad contractors are not even adhering to the 'N rate but applying an arbitrary rate which appears to be 185% highest than even the IATA. The change in the tariff gave windfall income to the CAA contractors. It is pertinent to note that changed terms and conditions gave right to contractors to charge the highest amount, thereby enabling them to reap larger sums of money. The CAA to the best of our knowledge, did not call for fresh bids on the revised terms & conditions, which is a mandatory requirement for autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, Since the additional return to the contactors was phenomenally higher, CAA must have received proportionally phenomenal higher sums of money. That the change was brought about discreetly without calling for objections, comments, etc. from the public and smacks of foul play. Members of Pakistan Poultry Association import highly perishable commodities like Day Old Chicks and Hatching Eggs. They need to take away the consignment immediately failing which serious losses would be caused to the importer because of mortality in chicks and embryos in hatching eggs. This weakness of our members is exploited by the contractors to the hilt. It may further be stated that there is absolutely no rationale of disregarding the actual value of the Airway Bill and collecting a levy based on the highest chargeable rate other than colluding with the contractors to provide them windfall profits. That no special storage facilities, such as controlled environment, meeting requirements of the temperature and humidity for day old chicks or hatching eggs are being provided by the CAA at the airports, there is no rationale whatsoever of levying of 5% throughput charge instead of a regular 2% charge, especially on consignments which are immediately cleared by the Customs and are even not stored in CAA facilities. -DR. BASHIR MAHMOOD BHATTI, Secretary General, Pakistan Poultry Association, Islamabad, February 17