STARTING IMPORT BUSINESS IN PAKISTAN
In order to start import business in Pakistan, registration with several regulatory authorities is required. The registration process will be discussed in sufficient detail in chronological sequence in this article:
- First and foremost step in starting any business involves establishing the legal status of enterprise i.e. whether the person wants to conduct import business through sole proprietorship or partnership (AOP) or private limited company.
- Once the legal status of the enterprise is established, after that name of business is to be determined. Name determination is vital because all the registrations will be done in that name. Name should not be controversial or bear resemblance to any other similar business. Additionally, name should reflect the nature of business objectives that enterprise is aiming to pursue.
- Now that we’re done with the name of business, the enterprise should make available with itself all the necessary gadgets which may include; stamp, letterhead, business premises, visiting cards and like.
- After that the person (sole, AOP or company) shall approach a commercial bank of his/her/its choice and open a business bank account in the name of business. Please do note that bank account opening step is prerequisite in case of AOP and company for NTN registration, however, in case of individual (sole proprietorship) bank account opening is not mandatory for NTN registration, which means that in case of individual (sole) business NTN can be registered even before bank account opening.
- Moving on to the next step which is NTN registration. Now NTN registration requirements are different depending upon the legal status of the enterprise i.e. whether it is sole proprietorship or AOP or company. The difference is relatively simple and the only difference is submission of incorporation documents i.e. in case of company Form 29, Form 21, memorandum and articles of association, in case of AOP registration certificate issued by Registrar of firms and partnership deed and in sole proprietorship’s case nothing is to be submitted as nothing constitutes incorporation in case of individual. Requirements for NTN registration can be accessed by visiting NTN registration or NTN registration requirements.
- Now that we’re done with NTN registration, we move on to STN (sales tax number) or STRN (sales tax registration number) registration. Remember NTN and STN registration process is not parallel. STN can only be obtained once NTN is already registered. Note that STN is not mandatory if supply to be made or services to be rendered are exempt, however in case of import/export business, STN registration is compulsory irrespective of the fact that the supply or services are exempt. In NTN registration process, the documents are reviewed & returned but soft copy retained however during STN registration, in addition to reviewing the documents, hard copies of the documents are retained. Requirements for STN registration are similar to NTN registration, except that in case of STN registration, application is to be made on TRF 01 form. Requirements for STN registration can be accessed by visiting STN registration or STN registration requirements.
- So the NTN and STN registrations are done with, which takes us to the next step which is registration with chamber of commerce. Depending upon the city where registered office of business is located, registration with chamber of commerce of that respective city is compulsory. For instance if the registered office of business is located in Islamabad, registration shall be done with Islamabad chamber of commerce and industry (ICCI). Please do note that more often than not two references of existing members of chamber of commerce are also required.
- We’re almost there………just one last process is still remaining which is called ‘WEBOC Registration’. WEBOC stands for web based one customs, as is evident, this registration concerns customs authorities. WEBOC is relatively a new concept introduced by federal board of revenue (fbr) in collaboration with Pakistan revenue automation limited (PRAL). WEBOC is a platform for clearance of goods through electronic media where electronic import forms are prepared well in advance of arrival of consignments. Commercial banks data has been integrated in this platform and only authentic transactions and activities are approved and authorized for processing. WEBOC registration process is done with custom authorities located at airports, dry ports and sea ports. After having registered for WEBOC purposes, a weboc id and password will be issued for future use for clearance of goods.
At this point all necessary registrations are complete.
Voila !!! A business with all the necessary gadgets for import and export is at your disposal and you may start importing items of your choice.
Should you want to inquire, please call me at 0323-5114494 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.