The Central Taskforce on Anti-Smuggling has formed a consultative committee to review the possibility of increasing the duty or penalty for cows informally coming from India through different border corridors.
The committee was formed at the latest meeting of the taskforce headed by National Board of Revenue chairman Md Nojibur Rahman to evaluate a proposal of increasing the duty or fine which is now Tk 500 per cattle.
Officials of the revenue board said that the committee headed by NBR member (customs policy) would also review the existing duty structure for import of gold to encourage import of the precious metal and discourage smuggling of the item.
Other members of the committee are representatives from the ministries of home and commerce, Customs Valuation and Internal Audit Commissionerate, Bangladesh Bank, Border Guard Bangladesh and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate.
According to the decision of the taskforce issued on October 2, the committee will also conduct feasibility study on increasing revenue collection through restructuring the duty on import of gold.
It will also work on resolving the complexities in fixing the price of smuggled goods seized by different government agencies.
Officials said that earlier in August, the revenue board decided to keep the penalty unchanged considering the negative impacts of increasing the penalty including possible price hike of meat, evasion of duty from the sector and reining in prices of sacrificial animals ahead of Eid-ul Azha.
The NBR took the decision after reviewing a proposal of the divisional commissioner of Rajshahi, a major channel of cattle supply from India to Bangladesh, for raising the penalty for cattle entering the country through informal ways saying that the current rate of fine is very low.
Indian government never allows cow export from the country considering the religious sentiment of Hindus as they consider the animal as sacred.
But there is always cow trading at borders through illegally and informal ways.
The animals are gathered as unclaimed ones at corridors on the borders of the two countries by traders who actually brought the animals into the country.
The NBR then charges Tk 500 on each cow from traders who get the cow at border and then make the sales of the cows legal in the country.
Officials said that the rates were Tk 1,500 each for buffalo and Tk 1,000 each for cow in 1996. The rate had been reduced on several occasions following incidences of penalty evasion by traders considering the rates high.
At the taskforce meeting, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce also made a proposal to ease the procedures of gold import to encourage import of the item legally and discourage smuggling.
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