Chattogram port-based clearing and forwarding agents have returned to work after seven hours of a strike demanding licence renewal by the customs authorities.
They kept their activities suspended from 9 am to 4 pm on Wednesday and backtracked immediately after the issuance of a National Board of Revenue (NBR) notice regarding the issue.
The notice, signed by NBR Second Secretary Abdullah Al Mamun, instructed the customs commissioners to renew the pending licences on the condition of furnishing necessary documents.
"We went on strike as the authorities declined to renew 250 of our licences. Having the NBR notice bearing a positive message for us, we have withdrawn the strike," Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, general secretary of the Chattogram Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association, told The Business Standard.
"We will compensate for the work losses due to the strike by working extra hours."
Mahmudul Imam was hopeful that taxation activities at the Custom House Chattogram would return to the normal level within the next two or three days.
Earlier, the customs authorities said the agents who failed to fulfil requirements were not issued renewed licences. They termed the strike "irrational".
"There is no C&F agent who has fulfilled the requirements but did not receive its renewed licence. Even, we issue renewed licences within just an hour," said Mohammad Salahuddin Rizvi, joint commissioner at the Custom House, Chattogram.
Some 3,000 C&F agents are working there, while some 65 of them do not have renewed licences, according to his estimation.
Every day, some 7,000 bills of entry are being submitted to the Custom House – 2,000 are on imports and 5,000 on exports — from which the House collects some Tk150 crore in revenue.