Dhaka Customhouse goes digital

The automated services at the Dhaka Customhouse was formally launched today expecting this would
expedite external trade and boost revenue earnings.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith launched the digitized system by clicking a button on a laptop to submit the bill of payment online at a function at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital city.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) implemented the
automation project for the National Board of Revenue (NBR) under
the public-private partnership (PPP) programme and technical
assistance from a private IT firm, Datasoft.

The finance minister said the present government envisioned
‘Digital Bangladesh’ to provide people with necessary services at
their doorsteps, which was a major election pledge.

“The automated system will help increase trade and business
and revenue earnings besides eliminating bureaucratic tangles of
the traditional customs clearing process,” NBR Chairman Dr
Nasiruddin Ahmed said.

DCCI President Asif Ibrahim said the automated system would
reduce the cost of doing business, bring transparency, create a
hassle-free business environment and ease the taxpaying process.

He said the automation of the customhouse is a step forward
to implement the vision for ‘Digital Bangladesh’ of the current
government.

With this system, shipping agents, freight forwarders and other stakeholders can now submit the Import General Manifest (IGM) and Export General Manifest (EGM) online from their offices or houses that are helping them save time and money.

For instance, the businessmen earlier can submit the IGM and
the EGM during office hours whereas the automated system allows
round-the-clock entry of such documents. The cost for
documentations has also come down to Taka 50 for each service
while Taka 180 was charged for the same job under the previous
system.

Exporters and importers are also allowed to handle documents
directly after obtaining the self-clearing licence. However, one
has to show a minimum turnover of Taka 20 crore with the
customhouse and bank documents certifying sound financial transaction of five years for obtaining the self-clearing licence and unique user ID for completing the procedures online.

The self-clearing system help complete all customs formalities in only six steps against about 42 steps one had to go through under the previous system.

Earlier in 2008, Chittagong Customhouse introduced the automated system in providing online services for processing export and import activities.

Both the Dhaka and Chittagong customhouses generate around Taka 15,000 crore every year as revenue from its operations.

A taskforce report earlier suggested that full automation of
customhouses would help double the revenue in two years, check
evasion of revenue, reduce cost of doing business by at least 70
percent, save customs processing time by 80 percent and ensure
transparency and level-playing field for business and better risk
management.

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