Business community has sought abolition of the rules of National Board of Revenue for mandatory use of electronic seal and lock, an e-tracking technology, on containers stuffed with export and import goods for both way transportations from the Chittagong Port to private inland container depots.
The leading chambers and trade associations have demanded the revenue board for cancellation of the Electronic Seal and Lock Services Rules-2017 immediately, saying that mandatory use of e-tracking system will increase cost of doing business in the country.
The revenue board in January this year framed the rules facilitating US-based Alif Corporation to introduce the service in the country ignoring the opposition of the business community.
Since 2014 when the NBR first took the move to introduce the system in the country, trade bodies and associations including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association had been giving their opinion against it.
FBCCI and BGMEA on Sunday wrote two separate letters to NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman for taking necessary steps in this connection.
FBCCI, the apex trade body in the country, in its letter said that it was not acceptable and rational to implement the mandatory electronic lock and seal system in the country ignoring opinion of private sector including exporters, importers and other stakeholders.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association and other leading chambers have taken stance against the system, it said.
According to the rules, exporters and importers will have to pay Tk 600 per container or covered van or truck bound for Chittagong port from private ICDs, known as off-docks, and to ICDs from the port.
Traders will have to pay Tk 50 for every hour after first 48 hours for the service.
The revenue board has already enlisted Alif Corporation owned by a Bangladeshi expatriate for providing the service.
Though the option for providing the service has been kept open for other firms, the rules made the process of issuing permission difficult for other interested service providers.
Officials of the NBR said that finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith was scheduled to inaugurate the service on December 6 despite opposition from the users.
The FBCCI said that businesses would have to receive the services for all export items and for 37 import items.
Local exporters and importers have been facing various types of constraints in running the highly competitive market, it said.
Hike in power tariff and transportation cost also
made the survival difficult for exporters.
‘Mandatory use of e-lock and seal will further increase the cost of doing business and will make difficult the survival of exporters,’ FBCCI said in the letter.
It said that traders were also using different types of low-cost technology to track their containers. They will have to bear a huge amount of additional cost for the new system.
On the other hand, the government has been implementing various initiatives to reduce the cost of doing business and ensure ease of doing business.
In this context, the government should consider the rationality of implementing the system in the country, it said.
In its letter, BGMEA said that introduction of the system was illogical as exporters were using various types of lock and seal as per requirement of international buyers.
There have been no incidences of theft or duty evasion while transporting export goods from ICDs to the port, it said.
So, it is not clear why the government has taken the costly and time-consuming initiative, it said.
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