New customs act to be passed in budget session

Muhith hints at international customs day seminar

Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith speaks at a seminar on digital customs and progressive engagement organised by the National Board of Revenue at the Officers’ Club in Dhaka on Tuesday on the occasion of International Customs Day-2016. Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman and Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad were present, among others. — New Age photo

Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith speaks at a seminar on digital customs and progressive engagement organised by the National Board of Revenue at the Officers’ Club in Dhaka on Tuesday on the occasion of International Customs Day-2016. Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman and Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad were present, among others. — New Age photo

The proposed Customs Act-2015 is likely to get approval of the national parliament in the next budget session in a bid to automate and modernise the customs and business procedures in international trade.
The act, which will replace the existing Customs Act-1969, will provide the National Board of Revenue a broad legal basis for implementation of an electronic customs administration under which all customs and export-import procedures will be conducted electronically.
International best practices in customs have also been incorporated in the new law.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Tuesday said that the act would be placed at the national parliament in May for passage during the budget session.
He made the comment at a seminar on digital customs and progressive engagement organised by the revenue board at Officers’ Club in Dhaka on the occasion of International Customs Day-2016.
On the occasion, the revenue board awarded 20 persons including customs officials and business leaders Certificates of Merit of the World Customs Organisation for their outstanding performance in customs affairs.
Muhith urged the business leaders for submitting amendment proposals and recommendations, if any, as soon as possible for inclusion in the new act so that the revenue board can address those before placing it in parliament.
He also urged the traders to adopt alternative dispute resolution for settling disputes related to customs duties and other taxes with the revenue board out of court.
He suggested the traders for placing their budget proposals by next month for the next budget preparation.
Speaking on the occasion, NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman said that the draft of the act was in final stage.
Automation and introduction of some international best practices are the main features of the act, officials said.
The new law will facilitate the traders for submission of electronic declarations for imports and exports, advance cargo declarations for imports, introduction of green channel for honest traders, they said.
There are also provisions of advance ruling which will help traders to get advance decisions of the customs on various issues related to valuation and classification of products.
The revenue board will also have to arrange mandatory consultations with the stakeholders before forming any new rules, statutory regulatory order and policies.
Traders will also get facility of providing bank guarantee instead of duties and taxes for inward processing, outward processing and temporary importation, according to the draft of the law.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed instructed the revenue board to bring the millionaires under the tax net.
Citing the newspaper reports, he said that more than one lakh people possess more than Taka one crore but many of them do not pay tax, he said.
At the seminar, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad demanded for setting up pre-import assessment system to avoid dispute between the traders and customs officials on customs valuation issues.
Parliamentary standing committee chairman on finance ministry, Abdur Razzak, asked customs officials for putting hard efforts in coordination with intelligence agencies to thwart gold smuggling through Bangladesh.
‘There is no complacency in seizing huge amount of smuggled gold. You seized 600 kilogram of gold in last two to three years but it may be another 6,000 kg remained undiscovered,’ he said.
Economic affairs adviser to the prime minister, Mashiur Rahman, NBR member (customs policy) Farid Uddin, Dhaka Customs Commissioner Md Lutfor Rahman, among others, spoke at the seminar.

Source: New Age

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