A Chattogram based private diplomatic bonded warehouse – Herbertsons Bangladesh, which remained inactive for years, now wants to be back in business to meet the liquor demand.
The Herbertsons, the only private diplomatic bonded warehouse under the Chittagong Customs and Bond Commissionerate, took licence in 1979, but it was not in the record of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) as the firm was not in business for a long.
Currently, six Dhaka based private bonded warehouses are operating, which kept liquor sale closed for several months resisting the use of alcohol software that the revenue authority introduced targeting digitalisation of bonded operation.
The Herbertsons want to make a comeback as sale closure of six bonded warehouses created a liquor crisis in the market.
This warehouse agreed to resume business using the NBR prescribed software, according to NBR officials.
The warehouse requested NBR to set a ceiling of $20lakh for importing bonded items including liquor.
Following the licence renewal and allotment proposal from the firm, the NBR formed a committee to determine the justification of their demand.
The committee visited the office of the warehouse and recommended allowing them a ceiling of $14lakh for importing bonded items. Of the total amount, a maximum of $8 lakh was recommended for importing liquor, according to the committee report.
Currently, ship stores are in operation at the port city to serve the foreigners and ship crews.
According to the committee report, currently the total number of cabin crew is 26,600. The annual import requirement of alcoholic beverages stands at $5.3 million while the total import amount ceiling for six ship stores for 2021-22 fiscal year is around $2.4 million. Considering the vacuum, the NBR committee recommended that setting an import bar of $14 lakh for the Herbertsons warehouse is permissible.
However, NBR is yet to give a final nod to the warehouse.
When contacted, a top NBR official on the condition of anonymity said, they are reviewing the necessary documents of the warehouse.
Meanwhile, the revenue authority is trying to issue licences against two state-owned organisations including the InterContinental hotel and the Parjatan Corporation aimed at breaking the liquor syndication of the existing six private bonded warehouses.