Port Wings News Bureau:
While the Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly emphasizing on increasing exports from the country on every available forum, shortage of Customs officials, mainly responsible for facilitating the export and import (Exim) sector, is going to be a real impediment to the sustained growth of trade, analyst say.
According to official sources in Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the shortage of manpower in Customs Department has increased gradually over the years and now stands at about 40%.
Speaking to Port Wings, Mr Murugan, a regular exporter of agricultural products from different East Coast ports, said, “There is a huge shortage of Customs officials at lower, middle and top levels for the last few years in most of the sea ports as well as airports, and it was badly affecting the trade.”
“Shortage of officials in Customs Department is plaguing the sector and most of us like Exim traders are stuck in the middle without any fault of us,” he added.
Shortage of officials have become so acute in the recent weeks when a newly openly CFS in Chennai had to keep its shutter down for about six months for want of regular appointment of Apprising and Examining Officers.
The situation (of shortage) is same in other parts of the country too. Since the continuation of shortage of Customs officials could seriously affect the trade in the longer run, Exim traders have appealed to the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitely to look into the issue and take measures on war-footing to set things right before it goes out of hand.
It may be recalled here that the Customs Department had collected over Rs 1.25 lakh crore from Exim trade as various levies in last fiscal and if the shortage of officials is addressed soon, the revenue may go up substantially.