Thanks to the fall in trade, Chattogram customsis set to miss its revenue collection target for the 2019-20 fiscal year by a large margin,although the target had been revised becauseofthe pandemic.
By the end of the outgoing fiscal year, the shortfall is likely to stand at Tk17,500 crore –a record deficit.
According to sources,the Custom House, Chattogram had a Tk2,333 crore shortfall in the 2017-18 fiscal year.In the next fiscal year (FY2018-19), it missed the target by Tk10,577 crore.
The collection target had been set at Tk63,168 crore for the current fiscal year, which was 18 percent of the total revenue collection target of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
NBR later readjusted the target to Tk58,298 crore in May as collections started plummeting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The custom house lagged behind the target by Tk20,692 crore with only June – the last month of the fiscal year –in hand.
Revenue collection in May stood at Tk3,114 crore andif June also sees the same amount of revenue collection,the shortfall will be no less than Tk17,500 crore, said sources at the Chattogram custom house.
The house has been able to supply the revenue board with Tk37,606 crore in the last 11 months.
Bangladesh conductsnearly 92 percent of its import and export through the Chattogram sea port. Chattogram customs, the largest customs station in Bangladesh, is responsible for goods transported by the sea port and Chattogram airport.
However, the virus outbreak has jeopardised operations of the port citycustoms station as import-export felldrasticallyduring the nationwideshutdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Terming the shortfall catastrophic, revenue officials and businessmen said the pandemic had dealt businessesworldwidea mighty blow, stalling both lives and the economyin an extraordinary turn of events.
"The exact estimation of losses considering all aspects of life is difficult.And the same catastrophe has happened to revenue collection of the house," said MahbubulAlam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
FakhrulAlam, commissioner of Custom House,Chattogram, said the coronavirus crisis has slashed their revenue collection.
"Customs operated on a limited scale from March 26 to April 21.Taxation of commercial goods was on pause during that time. Although operations resumed on April 22,releasinggoods from Chattogram sea port was much lower than usual," he added.