The National Board of Revenue is going to launch National Enquiry Point, an internet-based digital platform, to respond to queries from exporters, importers and other stakeholders.
A team of customs officials of the revenue board will give answers to the questions related to export, import and transit trade through the dedicated website of the Bangladesh Customs (www.bangladeshcustoms.gov.bd).
Establishing a NEP is a requirement of Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organisation to answer reasonable enquiries of governments, traders and other interested parties on matters related to international trade and provide required forms and documents.
Bangladesh, as a signatory of the agreement, will have to enable the platform before February next year.
The NBR has decided to inaugurate the facility on January 26, 2018 on the occasion of International Customs Day.
Customs authority has already developed NEP software and the beta-test or trial run of the software will be carried out by the end of December.
A detailed guide to NEP has also been prepared for users.
NBR’s first secretary (customs modernization) Mohammad Ehteshamul Hoque on Sunday told New Age that the dedicated team headed by a member of the NBR would be available for answering the queries the NEP would receive from traders and other stakeholders.
Any trader, user of individual irrespective of his or her nationality will be able to avail the facility using the website.
The WTO encourages the member countries to provide the service free of cost but a member countries charge fees in amount not exceeding the cost of the service, he said.
‘But the NBR has decided to offer the service free of cost to facilitate international trade,’ he said.
Initially, the response to the queries may be provided within 72 hours but the time may be reduced to 48 hours, he added.
Officials said traders and other stakeholders from home and abroad needed a wide variety of information, clarification and documents to conduct trade.
Though there are help desks at customs offices across the country to provide information and required documents to stakeholders, it is not always possible for them to get the information or documents visiting the customs offices, they said.
The NEP will also have wide range of ready information and database of answers of previous questions.
Once a user submits a query, the system will show the similar enquiries and their answers from the NEP database. If the user does not find his desired answer, he or she will have to proceed further for reply.
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