Importers to face penalty for delay in documents submission

Importers are going to face penalty for their failure of bill of entry submission within 72 hours of arrival of goods at port.

National Board of Revenue (NBR) is making this provision mandatory by bringing an amendment in the Customs Act to expedite country’s import and export activities as currently importers almost take up to 10 days to submit bill of entry to authority causing unusual delay in releasing goods, said officials.

“We will incorporate a provision of imposition of penalty in case of failure in bill of entry submission within 72 hours of import,” said Customs Member (Audit, Modernization and International Trade) Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman at a programe today (February 25).

Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) organized the orientation and awareness programme on “Ease of Doing Business: Trading Across Border” at its auditorium with support of International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Bangladesh Customs.

NBR high-officials, at the event, shared their recent reform initiatives to simplify trading across borders to improve country’s indicator in the ease of doing business index.

Customs commissioners at Dhaka Customs House Md Moazzem Hossain, Kamalpur Inland Container Depot Md Anwar Hossain and Customs Bond Commissionarate (Dhaka) S M Humayun Kabir, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

IFC’s private sector specialist Nusrat Nahid delivered introductory remarks while ERF General Secretary S M Rashidul Islam delivered welcome speech.

Customs modernization first secretary A A M Amimul Ehsan Khan gave a detailed presentation on recent initiatives of customs to expedite the trading across the border.

All of the customs commissioners stressed the need for proper coordination between the relevant agencies to improve the process of trading across the border.

Aminur Rahman said National Single Window (NSW) would bring 39 agencies under a single umbrella to ease the process of trading across the border.

“Once the NSW project implemented, the country would see a significant improvement in that doing business indicator and it would take one to two days to release goods from ports,” he said.

Unless the country improves its trading process, investment would not be attracted, added the NBR Member.

Aminur Rahman said the questioners of World Bank to assess the doing business indicators are quite complex and not answered by the proper person who are aware of the latest development.

He said in the Customs Act the NBR will also limit the scope of physical examination to less than 3 to 5 percent of import-export products.

The customs also moved to install more scanners and set up own central testing laboratory with the support of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The NBR Member said customs houses remain open always but other relevant agencies including banks are not.

Regarding holding some 70 import consignments of apparel exporters, Rahman said there was allegation of misdeclaration against those imported consignments which needs to be investigated.

“So far, the customs bond commissinarate suspended licenses to 450 exporters for misuse of the bonded warehouse facility,” he said.

It has been found that exporters amend the Utilization Declaration (UD) up to 170 times and not submitting the amendments through online, he added.

S M Humayun Kabir said clearing and forwarding agents make unusual delay to submit bill of entry causing slowdown in goods clearance from port.

Nusrat Nahid said a baseline survey of IFC has found time of clearances of goods came down to seven and half days in 2019. (Source: BSS)

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