The National Board of Revenue is going to make submission of the bill of entry mandatory within 72 hours of arrival of import goods at the port or submission of the import general manifest to expedite release of goods from ports.
Importers will face penalty in case for failure to file the bill of entry within the given timeframe.
Currently, the importers are able to submit the bill of entry within 30 days and there is a provision in the customs act to call for an auction if the imported goods are not released within the time, NBR member (audit, modernisation and international trade) Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman said at a workshop in Dhaka.
‘The NBR will bring an amendment to the customs act incorporating a provision for penalty for non-submission of the bill of entry within 72 hours of arrival of goods at port,’ he said.
Bangladesh Customs, International Finance Corporation and Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) jointly organised the workshop titled ‘Ease of Doing Business: Trading across Border’ at ERF auditorium in Dhaka.
Aminur said that the revenue board was also working on bringing 39 government agencies under one online platform, known as the national single window, to ensure better coordination in providing services to investors among the agencies.
Implementation of the NSW will bring significant improvement in the WB index, he said.
He said that the NBR was also planning to limit physical examination to less than 3 per cent to 5 per cent of import and export products to facilitate cross border trade.
Regarding misuse of the customs bonded warehouse facility given to the exporters to import raw materials duty-free, he said that there were allegations that the traders had abused the benefits.
The customs authorities detected some 70 consignments had been imported by the readymade garment entrepreneurs by misuse of the facility and had put the investigation process for these on hold, he said, adding that Customs Bond Commissionerate also suspended bond licences of 450 exporters for misuse of the facility.
CBC has also found that the exporters had amended the utilisation declaration up to 170 times and yet did not submit the amendments online, he added.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BGMEA) also does not cooperate with the customs to prevent misuse of the bonded warehouse facility, he alleged.
NBR first secretary (customs modernisation) AAM Amimul Ehsan Khan gave a presentation on the customs initiatives to facilitate trading across the border.
He said that delay in submission of documents such as the bill of entry caused delays in releasing goods from the ports as the customs’ activities started only after submission of the documents.
Many countries have brought amendments to their customs acts for faster submission of the bill of entry and have achieved positive results, he said.
Customs assessment procedures of around 84 per cent to 97 per cent of the bill submitted to the Chattogram Customs House and Dhaka Customs House respectively are completed within four days after submission, he said.
Dhaka Customs House commissioner Md Moazzem Hossain, Kamalpur Inland Container Depot (ICD) commissioner Md Anwar Hossain, CBC Dhaka commissioner SM Humayun Kabir, IFC private sector specialist Nusrat Nahid Babi and ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam, among others, spoke at the programme.
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