Monday, 2 October, 2023

Benapole Customs fails to meet revenue target

  • Our Correspondent
  • 10 August, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

BENAPOLE: Benapole Customs House collected Tk 5,786 crore in the last financial year, which was  Tk 180 crore less than the target.

The target of revenue collection was Tk 5,966 for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Meanwhile, the import decreased by 1 lakh 43 thousand 921 tonnes of products compared to the fiscal year 2021-22.

Benapole port authorities disclosed the data. Customs and traders said that the banks are not opening letters of credit (LCs) for the import of products other than         food products currently due to the dollar crisis.  Traders could not import according to their demand. And there are discussions about the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filing a case against an assistant revenue officer. It is alleged that Benapole Customs has not been able to collect revenue as per the target for the past 10 years due to customs bribery. They allegedly take bribes per file through C&F agents.

According to Benapole Customs sources, 20 lakh 35 thousand 499 tonnes of goods were imported in the FY 2022-23.

And for the previous fiscal year, the import of goods was 21 lakh 79 thousand 420 tonnes.  Import has decreased by 1 lakh 43 thousand 921 tonnes. It also reduced the revenue of the government.

Last year, the target of revenue collection at Benapole Customs House was 5 thousand 966 crore. Of that,  5 thousand 786 crore were collected there.

The target of revenue collection in the FY 2020-21 was Tk 6,244.57 lakh.

But the collection was Tk 4,145.14 crore. That year the deficit was Tk 2,099.43 crore.

A total of 20 lakh 38 thousand 64 tonnes of goods were imported in the FY 2020-21.

In the FY 2018-19, 20 lakh 11 thousand 6 tonnes of goods were imported.

President of Benapole C&F Agents Association Shamsur Rahman said that businessmen of both Bangladesh and India are more interested in trade through Benapole due to the easy communication system.  However, due to the dollar crisis, the government has imposed 100 percent margin conditions on LCs, he said.

“Again banks are not opening LCs due to the dollar shortage and because of that import decreased last year.”

“And it is normal that if the import decreases, the revenue will also decrease,” he added. India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce Director Motiar Rahman said, “Traders are unable to import goods due to inability to open LCs and because of that the revenue of the government has also decreased.” If the dollar crisis is over, the import rate will increase. said several importers, who did not want to be named.

They said that many traders left Benapole and went to other ports due to customs harassment and port management irregularities. It is mandatory to pay the money to customs officers and if not, the importers will have to face harassment on various pretexts, they alleged.

Deputy Director of ACC District Office Al Amin filed a case on February 12 year of 2022 in the name of Benapole Customs Assistant Revenue Officer Khandaker Mukul Hossain, who was detained at Dhaka Airport with Tk 23 lakh.

Former Director of Jashore Chamber of Commerce Mizanur Rahman said that the government has made a rule to give 100 percent margin to open the LC. Banks have not opened LCs for the past few months, he said.

According to him, thousands of businessmen involved in import are affected economically.

“Now the importers are in dire straits. If trade is not good, those involved in imports will be financially crippled if they cannot import goods.” Benapole Customs House Joint Commissioner Safayet Hossain said that due to the dollar crisis, traders are unable to open LCs from banks and it has decreased the import of goods.

“And if imports decrease, our revenue also decreases. Still our revenue collection growth is 28 percent. In June, the import was closed for a few days due to the Eid holidays.” For this reason, the revenue was slightly less than the target, he said. Hossain denied the allegations of harassment. “We do not harass the importers.”