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Bangladesh targets big cut in port lead time

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 | 16:00

The Bangladeshi government has set a target to cut the time for completing import and export procedures to two days and one day respectively by 2022 under the National Single Window (NSW) project.

Currently, it takes eight days for clearing the imported goods and five days for forwarding export items through different customs ports in the country.

Some 39 agencies, both public and private, would be interconnected with an integrated portal to deliver speedy services to the exporters and importers under the project.

Project director Khondaker Mohammad Aminur Rahman, who is a member (customs audit and international trade) of NBR, said this at a visioning workshop organised by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at a hotel in Habiganj on Sunday.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) of Bangladesh is implementing the NSW project with support from Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF II) being implemented by the IFC and funded by the DFID.

Once the system becomes operational, a total of 319,000 importers and exporters are expected to benefit from the reduced time and cost, according to the NBR.

Mr. Rahman said Bangladesh will be considered as a lucrative destination for investors, if the cost and time of doing business can be reduced. “We’ve found the results of time release study (TRS) on customs ports are not satisfactory,” he added.

If such a situation continues, Bangladesh will lose competitiveness, he said, informing the workshop that the project will appoint a performance quality assurance team soon.

The NSW is expected to come into full-fledged operation within two years and a half.

Mr. Rahman said the government has a plan to bring down the ease of doing business ranking to two digits. Relevant laws will be framed so that other entities can deliver their respective services to the NSW, he added.

While connecting through video conference, NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said that all of the trade portals would be interconnected through the NSW.

A guideline will be prepared to implement the NSW, he said. “A trader can use it as a single platform,” he said, instructing the project officials to complete the project within the stipulated time.

The US$ 74.1 million project was scheduled to expire on December 2020, but extended until 2022 due to slow progress in implementation.

NBR member (VAT audit and intelligence) Masud Sadiq said that the major objectives of the project were to reduce the cost and time of business, expedite it and remove complexities.

IFC private sector specialist Nusrat Nahid Babi also spoke at the workshop.

The NBR signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard with 39 private and public agencies in August 2018.

Through the NSW, all services related to export and import will be provided from an electronic and online platform.

It is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents through a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.

Exporters and importers will have to submit the relevant documents only once to the NSW platform instead of submitting sets of documents to various agencies.

The agencies include Prime Minister’s Office, ministries of finance, commerce, industries, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, health and family welfare, shipping, power, energy and mineral resources, civil aviation and tourism, posts, telecommunications and information technology, and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry. They also include Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association, and Bangladesh Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association.
Source: Financial Express

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