Import, Export Divisions at Ctg Customs House to be Reunified
Monday, 31 August 2009

The import and export divisions of Chittagong Customs House are set to be reunified after two years.

The National Board of Revenue has begun work to bring the two divisions of the country's biggest revenue collector under import division.

After the merger, all import and export activities will be handled by the import commissioner alone.

Up until July 2007, the two divisions functioned as a single unit.

Syed Golam Kibria, import commissioner, told, "It will take two more months to complete the reunification process and NBR is working on creating an organogram for it."

Kibria also said NBR will issue order after the organogram gets approved by the establishment ministry.

Finance minister A M A Muhith had proposed reunification of the two divisions in his budget speech on June 11.

The merger initiative has been taken to remove lack of coordination and complexities in revenue collection, said officials.

During his visit to Chittagong Customs House on Aug 18, the finance minister informed customs officials and businessmen that initiatives were being taken to complete the reunification process.

Meanwhile, Sahabuddin Nagri, commissioner of export division, has been transferred to NBR intelligence branch in Dhaka while Kibria, the import commissioner, has been given the additional charge of the division.

Customs House users complain that though the two divisions were created to curb harrassment and complexities involved in the release and shipment of cargo as well as to bring efficiency in revenue collection, there was no remarkable improvement in the situation.

They also alleged that exporters and importers fell victim to corruption and harrassment while working under two separate divisions.

On top of that, workforce became divided in two parts and as there was no recruitment in recent years the situation became even worse.

Customs Clearing & Forwarding Agents Association (C&F) general secretary Altaf Hossain Bacchu said, "Customs House users did not benefit from the separation of the divisions."

"Rather exporters and importers had to face more complexities and harrassment because of duel administration," he added.

Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president and former BGMEA vice-president M A Salam told, "The two-year experience of separation was not at all a happy one."

"Businessmen were experiencing various troubles in dealing with both imports and exports," he said.

Salam also said, "We appreciate the finance minister's initiative to merge the two divisions. The two divisions may be separated in future once different logistic supports, including sufficient workforce, are ensured."


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