Lahore: The Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts Accessories Manufacturers, while seeking investigation of used cars scam unearthed by the FIA, has asked the authorities to verify the record of all vehicles imported after relaxation of used car import policy in Dec 2010, as used-car dealers are grossly misusing the import policy concessions.
PAAPAM Chairman, Usman Malik, pointed out that used car dealers are abusing the auto import policy, which is meant only for expatriate Pakistanis, by importing huge quantities of used vehicles through manipulation of documents of Pakistanis returning from abroad.
He also lauded the recent used car scam unearthed by the Federal Investigation Agency. Describing details of the scam, he said that an FIR was lodged on the basis of a written complaint by a passenger regarding misuse of his passport by an agent dealing with the issuance of visa, alleging that the Customs clearing agent had imported a vehicle on his passport fraudulently under the personal baggage scheme without the passenger’s knowledge. The investigation agency scrutinized immigration database, finding it to be forged and concluded that the clearing agent had committed a fraud with the complainant, whose passport was used for the issuance of fake visa. The FIA officials also nominated six officials of the Model Custom Collectorate Appraisement West in the FIR through the interim charge-sheet.
PAAPAM Chairman stated that auto industry has been continuously asking for investigation of misuse of import policy, and requested Chairman FBR to investigate all un-cleared used car stocks lying at Karachi port, as most of the used vehicles have been imported in Pakistan on forged documents. About 95% of used cars are imported from Japan under personal baggage and transfer of residence scheme but these vehicles have cleared through documents of Pakistanis returning from Middle Eastern countries.
Usman Malik said that the FIA should also investigate unsold stocks at used car dealerships, verify their ownership details, scrutinize immigration database and the entry / exit stamps affixed on the passports.
“All these malpractices are critically hurting the local auto parts manufacturers and their volumes/profit margins have been eroded by such illegal imports, while, on the other hand, used car dealers are reaping bumper profits from the abuse of import policy order.”
PAAPAM Senior Vice Chairman, Mr. Aslam Rayaz, said that, as per Import Policy Order 2012-15, minimum stay abroad for import of personal baggage shall be 180 days within the last seven months preceding the date of application and minimum stay abroad requirement for gifting a vehicle or importing under transfer of residence shall be at least 700 days during the past three years. A vehicle may be gifted only to a family member normally resident in Pakistan.
He added that, unfortunately this policy is being massively abused by used car dealers, which is now confirmed by the written complaint filed by a passenger regarding misuse of his passport by an agent dealing with the issuance of visa, who had fraudulently imported a vehicle on his passport under the personal baggage scheme without the passenger’s knowledge. He said these malpractices are critically hurting the business of the local industry, which is adversely affecting their tax contributions and ultimately causing heavy losses to the government’s exchequer.