Custom House, Chittagong will arrange an e-auction to sell 125 luxury vehicles after failing to auction those off offline.
These vehicles had been left at the port for more than eight years after the authority identified misuse of the tax-free import facility called carnet. Either importers did not get the vehicles released from the port or customs intelligence seized them later on.
The market price of these vehicles, including cars of Marcedes, BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar and Lexus is more than Tk1 crore each. The customs authority has already begun the process for the auction this month with the permission of the National Board of Revenue.
Under the carnet facility, eminent foreign citizens and foreign nationals of Bangladeshi origin can bring in such vehicles for tax-free use for a certain period and are supposed to ship those back during their return.
The customs authority thinks its e-auction activity will gain momentum through the auction of the vehicles. Software glitches, complications to upload pictures of products and the forgery of pay orders are the reasons why the authority could not make its e-auction programme functional.
Al Amin, deputy commissioner of the auction department of Chattogram Customs, said organisations and individuals would be able to participate in the online auction so competition would be high to ensure better prices.
A technical committee has been formed to release the vehicles from the port immediately through e-auction. It will sit on 7 September to decide the prices.
The authority is hopeful that the upcoming auction will be a success and that a huge amount of revenue will be earned.
Mohammad Morshed, manager of KM Corporation that organises government auctions, said the customs could not sell a single vehicle in two previous auctions since 2018 because the highest bid was lower than the price set by the authority.
Earlier in August 2016 and in May 2017, the authority tried to auction off 85 and 113 cars but the efforts failed too.
The customs authority cannot sell a product at less than 60% of the declared price.
Any organisation or individual will be able to participate in the e-auction as per the customs rules. While organisations will have to submit their updated trade licences and a copy of VAT registration certificate or TIN certificate, individual applications should be accompanied by a copy of their national IDs and TIN certificate, along with a bank draft or a pay order of 10% of the proposed price.
Products imported from different nations should be released within 30 days after they are unloaded at the port from ships. The customs issue a notice to importers after the time has expired. The authority can auction off the products if the importers do not get the items delivered in 15 days after the issuance of the notice.
A false declaration during import also leads to seizure of an item and sale through an auction.