The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will take punitive action against their officials involved in any irregularities if specific complaints of harassing any businesses – mistakenly or intentionally – are submitted to it.
"They are complaining in their platforms or associations. Complain to us directly and specifically. It is not that we do not have irregularities," the NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said at a press conference at the Revenue Building in the capital's Segunbagicha on Tuesday.
The press conference was organised to observe the International Customs Day which falls on Wednesday.
He made the remarks in the context of widespread complaints raised by various business organisations about harassment by revenue officials.
Exporters, importers and local businesses including Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have long been complaining regarding harassment by the NBR officials in various forms.
Businesses from across the country talked about harassment at a meeting of the apex trade body of the country Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) last Saturday.
They threatened to shut down business operations if this harassment continued.
NBR chairman however said that they were trying to find out the reasons why their consignments were held up at the ports. As various release orders from different organisations are required, there may be a delay but it comes as random complaints of not releasing goods.
At this point, NBR member Masud Sadiq said a total of 7500 bills of entry are submitted at the Chattogram Customs House daily, of which there is a possibility of delay in case of one or two consignments. Many of the consignments do not have the certificate from the relevant department making the scrutiny process lengthy, he added.
NBR chairman said they had kept their operation open for 24 hours during Covid to facilitate commercial activities. This has triggered the increase in revenue income by 22% during the July-December period compared to the same period of the previous year.
There is a target to earn Tk86,000 crore duty in this fiscal year (2021-22). Of the total amount, Tk42,200 crore was collected in the last six months.
Regarding the preparation on duty waiver after graduation from LDC to a developing country, Abu Hena said the trade competition will be intense after this time.
"Our customs has to keep the issue in mind as they will face challenges in duty collection. The situation will be compensated through income tax and VAT," he said.
International Customs Day is observed in the 183 member states of the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
This years' theme is "Scaling up customs digital transformation by embracing a data culture and building a data ecosystem".