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POST TIME: 1 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Security of export–import containers in CTG Customs House
NBR faces problems to launch e-tracking technology
JAGARAN CHAKMA

NBR faces problems to launch e-tracking technology

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is facing difficulties in introducing electronic lock and seal system, an e-tracking technology used for tracking consignments of export–import containers, in the Chittagong Customs House because of the lack of interest shown by users. NBR chairman M Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told The Independent that businessmen do not want the technology as they need to pay some charges for using it. “We have to discuss the matter with business organisations,” he said. Bhuiyan said the e-tracking system would help ensure the security of export–import containers. “We’ve finalised the charges for the new system. Businessmen and private companies will have a win–win situation if they use this technology. It'll also ensure trade security for export–import businesses and stop forgery,” he added.

According to NBR officials, all major trade bodies and associations have been demanding abolition of the rules of the NBR for mandatory use of the e-tracking technology.

The NBR is ready to introduce the system to monitor export–import containers in the Chittagong port, Bhuiyan said.

A businessman has to pay Tk 600 for a container for the first 48 hours and Tk 50 for each hour after that in order to get services from the company.

However, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Siddiqur Rahman said that the new technology is not necessary as importers and exporters already use low-cost lock systems. “The new technology is quite unnecessary and also time-consuming,” he added.

In a recent letter to the NBR, the Chittagong Customs House has approved the use of the system, arguing that it is needed for handling huge containers and tracking such containers constantly.

In the letter, Chittagong Customs House joint commissioner Syed Mushfiqur Rahman said that Chittagong Customs has approved around 10,000 containers for being unloaded from the Chittagong port every month. Those containers contain various kinds of goods, including raw materials of readymade garments, which are sold in the open market by violating law.

It is often seen that many undeclared, banned and high-duty goods are imported through such containers. If the new technology is used, tax evasion through this method can be reduced. Appropriate security measures can be taken as the containers would be under constant surveillance by the technology.

Syed Mushfiqur Rahman said the Electronic Seal and Lock Services Rules-2017 came into force on January 19, 2017. US-based Alif Corporation had got the approval for providing the service for one year till January 18, 2018, he added.

The Chittagong Customs House had tried to introduce the technology and fixed dates thrice in last November and December for its introduction. But the system could not be introduced as the trade bodies strongly opposed it. On January 8, Alif Corporation, owned by an expatriate Bangladeshi, in a letter to finance minister MA Muhith sought extension of its licence for another year as the approval had expired before the introduction of the technology.

Under the circumstances, the Chittagong Customs House had written to the NBR last week, asking it to take a decision on the use of the electronic lock and seal system.