ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is required to coordinate with the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) to ensure the health and safety of customs personnel during the installation and operation of new x-ray vehicle/container scanners in ports .
An FBR report on scanners revealed that according to the PNRA regulations, scanner users will need to obtain two types of licenses from the PNRA, namely a license to acquire x-ray scanners and another license to operate the scanners.
The Port Qasim authorities will have to coordinate with the regional office of the PNRA in Karachi to obtain a license to acquire scanners. The supplier will install the scanners, carry out tests, ensure quality control and provide a certificate of good operation.
The PNRA will also ensure the quality assurance and quality control aspects of the scanners and provide registration and licensing of the scanners.
The PNRA will continue to verify quality controls during the operational phase as it deems necessary.
According to the PNRA, radiation monitoring is required for facilities and technologies that use radioactive materials. X-ray machines produce X-rays only when turned on.
Consequently, the X-ray scanners will not be checked regularly by the PNRA. Nevertheless, the quality controls will be checked by the PNRA as described.
Pakistan Customs has experience in the use and management of X-ray scanners. A few scanners are already in place but need to be replaced in the same way as the existing ICT equipment. The knowledge required for the license, use and maintenance of the scanner exists. Pakistan Customs also has the necessary health and safety knowledge through X-ray scanners. Installation of new scanners will require coordination with PNRA for licensing and use of scanners as well as development of SOPs based on manufacturer guidelines/SOPs and PNRA recommendations, he said.
PNRA regulations regarding the licensing and operation of X-ray vehicle/container scanners will apply to project activity related to the supply of X-ray scanners.
The report says Pakistan Customs uses X-ray scanners at seaports as well as a scanner at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The scanners were installed before 2005. The scanners were imported in accordance with PNRA regulations. SOPs/guidelines are available for safe use of scanners. Existing scanners are used to scan baggage contents inside containers to identify prohibited items. Necessary infrastructure facilities for scanners such as pavement, open space and storage are available.
The report indicates that the proposed sites for the installation of new scanners will be located in a highly commercial port area. The infrastructure for the movement of goods and the use of scanners is adequate. Space for new scanners will be allocated during project implementation. The movement of goods has been observed to be systematic in ports.
The FBR will establish an automated entry and exit system for customs through the supply and installation of ICT and cargo scanning equipment for non-intrusive inspection of cargo for imports, transit and exports at seaports (East Karachi, West Karachi, Port Qasim and Gwadar). X-ray vehicle/container scanners using seaport walk-through technology and airport stationery will be installed at these identified ports as well as airports. This activity will provide ICT, scanning and weighing equipment for non-intrusive inspection of imported, exported and transit cargo at seaports and three airports with a view to reducing and improving physical inspection procedures in ports and implement pre-arrival/pre-clearance. procedures. The type of scanners include portable gantry and truck gantry scanners. A remote image analysis center will be set up, consisting of a physical room, equipment, communication software, etc., which will serve to centralize the analyzes of radioscopic images with direct links to the central image repository.
The FBR will upgrade the network connectivity of all FBR offices and custom checkpoints through the supply and installation of ICT equipment to support data sharing and real-time communications, adds the report.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022