- Growth in revenue collection at Chattogram Custom House could have been 7% higher by May 2022 if Petrobangla paid its dues on time
- Chattogram customs sent 10 letters to Petrobangla between 28 February and 18 May this year to collect the dues
- If Petrobangla does not pay its dues before the end of the current fiscal, the revenue growth will be lower compared to last year
Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) has not been paying Chattogram Custom House Tk3,017 crore in duties accrued over the past eight months for importing LNG, which has had a negative impact on customs revenue collection.
In a letter sent to Petrobangla on 18 May, Chattogram customs said they would take legal action if Petrobangla does not pay its dues as soon as possible.
Sources said Petrobangla owes the Chattogram Custom House Tk3,017 crore in import duties against 23 bills of entry and 30 import general manifests (IGM) submitted from September 2021 to April 2022.
Petrobangla imports LNG from Qatar and Oman, according to Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Co Ltd, the clearing and forwarding agent in charge of unloading LNG imported by Petrobangla.
Collecting tax on LNG imports at the Chattogram Custom House started in 2018. Since then, the company has imported LNG by about 250 ships – each carrying around 1.45 lakh cubic meters of gas – and paid customs duty for only 190 of those shipments.
Chattogram Custom House Commissioner Mohammad Fakhrul Alam told The Business Standard that Petrobangla's tax arrears have had a negative impact on their revenue collection.
If Petrobangla paid its Tk3,017 crore of dues, revenue collection would have stood at Tk54,255 crore till 24 May and revenue collection growth would have reached 26.54% compared to the previous year. Due to Petrobangla's arrears, 7% growth was lost, he said.
In FY21, Chattogram Custom House achieved its highest revenue collection growth – 23.23% – in the last 25 years. If Petrobangla does not pay its dues before the end of the current fiscal year, growth will be slower compared to last year, according to sources.
Chattogram customs sent 10 letters to Petrobangla between 28 February and 18 May this year to collect on the dues increasing every month, which are expected to increase further by the end of this fiscal.
LNG imported by Petrobangla is directly supplied to the national grid through a pipeline from the FSRU (Floating Structure Regasification Unit) at the Moheshkhali LNG terminal.
Usually imported goods are unloaded after they arrive at the port and the importer submits the bill of entry and pays duty on it. But in the case of LNG, customs clearance is done after unloading it from the ship.
In the letter sent to Petrobangla on 18 May, the customs authorities said unloading goods without submitting a bill of entry and paying taxes due on that, is a criminal offense under customs law and there is provision for imposing fines on unpaid dues, for violating rules and regulations.