The National Board of Revenue has framed rules for introducing electronic seal and lock services, a container tracking technology, in the country in a bid to ensure security of containers stuffed with export and import goods.
The customs wing of the NBR on Tuesday issued the rules under which private service providers would ensure security of export-import goods laden containers, covered vans and trucks from Chittagong Port to private inland container depot, known as off-dock situated in the port city and vice-versa.
The rules, however, keeps the provision optional whether exporters and importers use the services, a high official of the NBR told New Age on Sunday.
According to the rules, exporters and importers will have to pay Tk 600 a container for the service from Chittagong Port to off-docks and vice-versa for the first 48 hours and Tk 50 for each hour after the end of the first 48 hours.
Off-dock is a place where products to be exported are stuffed in containers for shipment and imported goods are released after customs clearance. There are now 15 off-docks in the country.
Under the system, an electronic small chip known as electronic seal and lock will be installed on every
container and the movement of the container will centrally be monitored for ensuring supply chain security.
The NBR initially took move to introduce the system following an application from a private firm, Alif Corporation, though country’s major trade bodies have been opposing the system on some issues including charges, guarantee for the goods from missing or theft and compensation if lost or stolen.
The rules, however, said that the service provider would take the responsibility of goods and provide compensation if goods are lost, missing, stolen or damaged.
The NBR has also kept the scope of application for the licence of the technology open for all.
Alif Corporation, owned by a non-resident Bangladeshi living in the USA, sought Tk 700 for the service for the first 24 hours and Tk 50 for each hour onwards.
NBR officials said that now any firms could apply for licences for providing the services.
The NBR will provide licences initially for one year to firms after examining their application, they said.
Exporters and importers will sign contract with the service providers for using the technology with global positioning system (GPS) or General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) for tracking the location of container, the rules said.
The validity of the rules will expire after one year if the tenure is not extended as the NBR wants to see the success of the system, they said.
Traders never show interest in using the service terming the charges are very high, officials of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry said.
Traders also apprehended that the service might be made mandatory which would increase the cost of doing business, they said, adding that traders are still not clear whether using the system is mandatory or not.
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