The revenue authority has decided to keep customs houses and stations open so that a normal supply of essential goods, medical equipment, and security materials is maintained – although most offices across the country have been closed because of the coronavirus situation.
The administration division of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) sent a directive in this regard to all field offices on Wednesday.
In the directive, the revenue authority asked customs houses and customs stations to allow Indian officials to enter Bangladesh, after examining their passports, so that trade between the two countries continues as usual.
Earlier, the authority closed all government and non-government offices except those of the police force and hospitals from March 26 to April 4. Along with that, public transportation services like buses, trains and launches have been closed till April 4.
An NBR official said despite the central announcement for the holidays, there was already an announcement to limit operations at customs houses. The new directive asked for the usual activities to be run with the minimum amount of workforce.
According to NBR sources, currently there are six customs houses: Chattogram, Dhaka, Mongla, Inland Container Depot Kamalapur, Benapole, and Pangaon. Additionally, there are two Customs Bond Commissionerate offices in Dhaka and Chattogram. There are also Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate and Customs Valuation and Internal Audit Commissionerate offices in Dhaka.
Further, there are customs stations at 14 land ports at different points beside the border with India, which operate under the Customs, Excise & VAT Commissionerate offices.