- Revenue collection at the Chattogram Customs House from July to September in FY2020-21 was Tk10,374 crore
- This was 2.75% higher than in the same period in the previous fiscal year
- Incidents of fraud perpetrated by some importers and clearing agents has decreased
- Senior officials credited a new rule to fine dishonest importers with 2-4 times the amount of duty they intend to evade for the increase in revenue collection
- The Chattogram Customs House has posted positive growth in revenue collection in the first quarter of the current fiscal year despite the sluggish trend in businesses due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
From July to September in FY2020-21, the Chattogram Customs House collected around Tk10,374 crore in revenue, which is 2.75% higher than the revenue collected in the same period in the previous fiscal year.
The current fiscal year started with a negative 11.57% growth in revenue collection in July, but in August and September 11.55% and 10.74% positive growth was recorded at the Chattogram Customs House.
Sources at the customs house said they collected Tk3,293 crore in revenue in July, around Tk,3,264 crore in August and around Tk3,816 crore in September this year.
The Chattogram Customs House said illegal activities like frauds perpetrated by some importers have decreased, which made a positive impact on revenue collection.
Mohammad Fakhrul Alam, commissioner of Chattogram Customs House, told The Business Standard, "The number of incidents of importing one type of product by announcing something else has decreased, so the importers now are taking delivery of their consignments by paying the right amount of duty."
A rule has been introduced to fine dishonest importers an amount 2-4 times higher than the actual amount of duty they intend to evade by giving false information on the documents
"Besides, a rule has been introduced to fine dishonest importers an amount 2-4 times higher than the actual amount of duty they intend to evade by giving false information on the documents. This is another cause of the increase in revenue collection," said Fakhrul Alam, who added that the amount of import into the country has also increased.
The Audit Investigation and Research unit at the Customs House said the customs authority blocked the release of 701 consignments from July to September of the current fiscal year and found evidence of irregularities in 252 of them, for which they collected around Tk21.51 crore as fines and additional duties.
During the same period in fiscal year 2019-20, the customs house authority barred 596 consignments from delivery and found evidence of irregularities in 244 of them. They collected around Tk33.58 crore as fines and additional duties at the time.
This means the Chattogram Customs House collected around Tk12 crore less as fines and additional duties in the first quarter of the current fiscal year than they did in the same period in the previous fiscal year.
In many cases, importers and clearing and forwarding agents are involved in duty evasion, about which The Business Standard published a report, "Half of goods clearing agents involved in duty dodging,"on 13 August. When the matter came to the knowledge of the Chattogram Customs House, its authorities became stricter, said sources.
Around 8.4 crore metric tonnes of goods were imported in September, around 6.9 crore metric tonnes in August and around 6.8 crore metric tonnes in July this year
According to data from Chattogram Port, around 8.4 crore metric tonnes of goods were imported in September, around 6.9 crore metric tonnes in August and around 6.8 crore metric tonnes in July this year.
Mahbubul Alam, president of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told TBS, "A large portion of the total revenue collected in the country comes from the Chattogram Customs House. It is undoubtedly good news for the economy that revenue collection is growing after overcoming the crisis at the beginning of the spread of the coronavirus."
He opined that all concerned, including businessmen, have to play their respective roles to continue this growth.
According to the Chattogram Customs House, the revenue collection target for FY2020-21 is set at around Tk65,433 crore.
In FY2019-20, the revenue collection target was around Tk58,298 crore, against which Tk41.853 crore was collected. That fiscal year ended for the Customs House with a negative 3.96% growth in revenue collection.