Despite a sizable drop in both imports and exports – mainly due to the coronavirus outbreak – Chattogram customs collected a record amount of revenue in February by resolving outstanding issues.
"Customs took various initiatives to increase revenue collection," said M Fakhrul Alam, commissioner of the Chattogram Customs House.
He added that the measures included: releasing goods held-up at the port, auctioning unreleased goods, resolving cases over misuse of bond facilities, and preventing forgery.
According to customs, revenue collection in February was the highest among the first eight months of the current fiscal year.
That month, both imports and exports dropped by 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
A total Tk3,995 crore in revenue was collected in February, which is 19.16 percent higher than in the same period of the previous fiscal year. Revenue collection in February of the 2018-19 fiscal year was Tk3,353 crore.
Sources at Chattogram customs said the revenue collection stood at: Tk3,724 crore in July, Tk2,927 crore in August, Tk3,446 crore in September, Tk3,914 crore in October, Tk3,469 crore in November, Tk3,675 crore in December, and Tk3,820 crore in January of the current fiscal year.
Revenue collection growth was: 12.45 percent in July, -15.42 percent in August, -6.13 percent in September, 4.59 percent in October, -8.98 percent in November, 9.35 in December and -8.26 percent in January.
Customs could not maintain growth in revenue collection for four of the first eight months of the current fiscal year.
According to customs data, more than 1.6 crore tonnes of products were imported in January this year. Import volume dropped to 88.18 lakh tonnes in February – which is 16 percent lower than that in the previous month.
In January, C&F agents submitted 1.70 lakh bills of entry to release imported items. The number of bill entry fell to 1.52 lakh in February – which is 11 percent lower than that in the previous month.
According to the Audit Investigation and Research Unit of the Chattogram Customs, the release of 335 consignments were put on hold for various reasons including the import of products using false declarations, and forgery.
The products of just 36 of these consignments matched the declarations.
As many as 133 cases that were filed under the customs law for irregularities were disposed of in February. Of the cases, 21 were filed in the same month.
Customs received Tk13.91 crore in revenue and fines from the resolved cases.