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16 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Multiple checks

Trade stagnates at Benapole

Rokonuzaman, Benapole
Trade stagnates at Benapole

Benapole, the country’s largest land port, is stagnating with respect to both exports and imports, thanks to delays and multiple checks by different organisations.

Currently, 5,000 goods-laden trucks are waiting on the Indian side to enter Benapole port. The traders’ organisation complained that the municipal council officials of Bongaon in India were harassing the traders. Some people are allegedly extorting money from them.

The delay in entering Benapole has apparently been caused by the introduction of additional regulations by both ports. Once the L/C (letter of credit) is opened, it takes 15 to 20 days to enter Bangladesh.

At the Benapole check post, an Indian truck takes 20 minutes to enter the port since it has to make an entry in the register. The Bangladesh Border Guards (BGB), Customs, and the Port authority separately enter their details in their respective registers. In the past, 600–700 trucks would enter the port every day without a hassle. But now, the number of trucks has gone down to 250 due to problems on the Indian side.

Traders alleged that the separate entry of trucks by the BGB, Customs, and Ports has created this situation. As a result, importers are shifting to other ports, including Chittagong. While the cost has gone up, the size of imports has gone down.

Benapole Customs C&F Agents’ Association president Mafizur Rahman Sajan said the trade—and revenue—will increase once a joint task force is introduced at the Benapole and Petrapole ports. “Three government officials are unnecessarily entering the Indian goods trucks. It’s a waste of time. Customs officials are supposed to enter the goods. Business has started falling due to this reason,” he complained.

Owing to the complications, most traders are importing goods illegally. As a result, the revenue collection of the government has started

decreasing.

Under the direction of National Board of Revenue chairman Mosarraf Hossain Bhuia, Benapole Customs commissioner Belal Hossain Chowdhury arranged a meeting at his office among the leaders of various port users and Customs officials of the two countries on Tuesday. They discussed the ways to increase revenue earnings and bring dynamism into the export-import trade.

 Apart from Mafizur Rahman Sajan, additional Customs commissioner Zakir Hossain, joint commissioner Ehsanul Haque, deputy commissioner Marufur Rahman, former Benapole Customs C&F Agents’ Association president Alhaj Shamsur Rahman, Awami League general secretary and senior vice-president of the C&F Agents’ Association Alhaj Nuruzzaman, joint secretary of the Import Export Association Alhaj Mohsin Milon, Customs affairs secretary Alhaj Nasir Uddin, Kamal Uddin Shimul, and Abdul Latif attended the meeting.

At the meeting, it was decided that the existing problems between the Customs departments and traders of the two countries would be resolved. On the Indian side, too, business partners of Indian ports and Benapole Customs commissioner Belal Hossain Chowdhury met on the same day to discuss how they can increase imports and exports between the two countries. They also demanded the formation of a joint task force between the two countries.

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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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