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18 August, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Business-friendly customs law on cards: Muhith

It is likely to be placed in coming session of parliament
Business-friendly customs law on cards: Muhith
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith yesterday said the new customs act will be helpful for building business capability in Bangladesh, if implemented properly.
“Also the business community will be benefited from the new customs act,” he added while addressing a four-day national workshop on ‘New Customs Act and Respective Best Practices‘ organised jointly by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and  the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at a hotel in the capital.
The proposed law is aimed at making the revenue management related to customs more transparent, modern, time-befitting, business-and investment-friendly, and more revenue-generating.
“The purpose of the reform initiative is to reduce the cost of doing business in Bangladesh,” he added, saying that this would be fully automated and online.
“A lot of reform activities have taken place in last few years alongside the introduction of automation in customs. But, we are exercising the best policies practicing globally and the stakeholders are needed to be made aware on it,” he said.
While addressing the workshop, he said that huge reforms are underway to modernise the country’s Customs Act in order to increase the trade and reduce business cost. “The purpose of the reform initiative is to increase and reduce the cost of doing business in Bangladesh,” he added, saying that this would be fully automated and online.
Referring to the changes of traditional system in customs management, Muhith said customs officials should be familiar about the changes and best practicing policies.
Presided over by NBR Chairman Nojibor Rahman, among others, Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, FBCCI President Abdul Matlub Ahmad, and Japanese ambassador in Dhaka Masato Watanabe were present on the occasion.
Muhith expressed his unhappiness as the customs management is running with the act formulated in 1969, where a number confusion is available in the law.
However, he said, “We amended the act in 2009 and made the act time befitting through incorporating information technology based system”.
He further said: “The amended law did not dissolve the old act. Rather we made it time befitting and information technology based act to remove confusing clauses of the law”.
Finance and Planning Minister Mannan said as part of reformation in different sectors under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the custom act has been amended.
Masato Watanabe said he will try bringing more investment into Bangladesh during his tenure.
The ambassador said the number of Japanese companies in Bangladesh had increased to 240 recently. They are investing in the clothing, food and fisheries, motorcycle and toy industries.
FBCCI Matlub Ahmad hopes that the amended law will help to remove some complexities that hinder business as the act has been formulated in view to ease doing business.
In September last year the cabinet approved in principle a new customs act aimed at making the relevant law more business-friendly and
also boosting government revenue receipts in simpler ways. It incorporates risk management as well as reflects the provisions of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It will facilitate advanced cargo declaration, more simplification and development of the export and import declarations and various systems of customs valuation. The new law has been framed in line with the international conventions that government has signed on so far.
The act will come into effect in July 2016 because the customs officials and the stakeholders need time to be acquainted with the law and its execution.
According to new act the customs wing has incorporated a number of provisions into the proposed law that make discussions with the businesses and private sector mandatory prior to the implementation of policy decisions. The new act would have risk-based system of customs management to expedite clearance  of goods.
It would also cut discretionary powers of the customs officials and introduce a ‘paperless’ customs administration.
The new customs law, which was approved in principle by the Cabinet last September, is likely to be placed before parliament in the upcoming session.
The new law will replace the existing age-old law enacted in 1969, informed chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday, on the sidelines of a workshop on the issue.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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