The National Board of Revenue is going to introduce real-time currency exchange rates for determining the value of import and export goods for the purpose of customs assessment, replacing the existing monthly average value of major foreign currencies.
Customs officials of the revenue board said that the introduction of real time currency exchange rates would remove the difference in conversion rates between the foreign currencies and the Bangladeshi currency taka.
It is also a global practice to follow the real time exchange rates for the purpose of customs assessment for imposing customs duty and other taxes on the value of import and export goods, they said.
The revenue board has made the move following a Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry request.
The customs wing of the NBR on February 5 formed a committee to identify problems and prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the introduction of real-time currency exchange rates.
Currently, the Chittagong Customs House publishes a chart of exchange rates against the taka in the first day of a month averaging the rates of those particular currencies prevailing during the thirty days preceding the last working day of the third week of the previous month.
The rates remain applicable for the month for the purpose of determining the value of any import and export goods and all customs houses and land customs stations follow the rates for customs assessment.
The CCH, the largest customs station of the country, computes the monthly average value on behalf of the NBR as per the Customs Act-1969.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh Bank publishes the daily exchange rates of major currencies based on scheduled banks’ previous day’s weighted average exchange rates.
A senior NBR official said that the monthly average currency exchange rates often make the difference between the actual exchange rates and the set rates.
Though the difference is not that big, often by few cents, it causes losses to both traders and the revenue authorities, he said.
If the set rate is higher than the daily actual ex change rate, total duty incidence increases, which is beneficial for the revenue authorities and exporters while importers have to pay higher amount of duties.
On the other hand, if the set rate is lower than the actual rate, the duty incidence declines and importers get benefit, he said.
The proposed Customs Bill-2019, which was placed before parliament on September last year, also has a provision related to the introduction of the real-time exchange rates, which is also global standards, he said.
The committee consisting of representatives from customs wing and IT wing of the NBR will prepare the SOP to upload the Bangladesh Bank’s daily exchange rates on the NBR’s automated Asycuda World system.
The committee has been asked to submit its report by February 29.
Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association general secretary Altaf Hossain Chowdhury Bacchu, however, told New Age that the existing average rate was a better system despite a slight difference between the rates.
The margin of difference, either upward or downward, varies between Tk 0.25 and Tk 0.50, which is not that significant, he said.
The introduction of real-time exchange rates may create complexities in maintaining calculation as importers submit bills of entry every day, he said.
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