Huge amount of earnings shadowed
Mahfuz Emran: A 40 HC (High Cube) FCL (Full Load Container). A garment company exported 259 kg of garment products in this container. Another garment company exported 88 kg of garments in another container of the same size. Asycuda World System mentions such information of export in two containers. But in reality, two containers have exported hundreds of times more goods than Asaikuda’s information. And in each container, the products of not one company, but several companies have been exported. The product is being exported, but the name of all the companies, the quantity of the product is not coming properly. In the case of exports, such fraud of FCL containers has come to light in a report of customs. According to the report, the export information is not fully displayed as currently the Asycuda module is import-centric. Besides, there is no provision to display the total weight of the container in the Asycuda system in case of export. Export information is not available without verifying the export documents at the depot. This information is known from an inquiry report done by Chittagong Custom House recently.
Those concerned say that as the names of all the companies and the amount of products are not properly included in the Asaikuda system, it is believed that these companies are laundering money under the guise of exports. Evidence has also been found at various times. They say, later customs or any other organization will not be able to identify these organizations. Note that a container containing only one importer’s goods is called FCL (Full Load Container).
According to NBR sources, the committee on June 21 to submit a report on ‘Determining the full loading capacity of FCL containers for various types of garment products for export and displaying any abnormal range in FCL loading through the Asycuda World system and exploring the possible reasons why exports are less than imports in some establishments’. Formed NBR. The convener of the committee is Joint Commissioner of Chittagong Custom House (currently Additional Commissioner) Mohammad Tafshir Uddin Bhuiyan, Member Secretary Assistant Director of Customs Intelligence Abdul Matin Talukder and Deputy Commissioner Md. Nurul Basir. Besides, one revenue officer and three assistant revenue officers were made members of the committee. The committee submitted its report on October 30 after the inquiry and investigation. The committee members held a meeting, visited Summit Alliance Port Limited (SAPL) and Ishaq Brothers Industries Limited (EBIL) depots. 100% manual inspection and staffing activities of all bill of export products related to two containers are supervised at two depots.
Depot officials told the committee that during export, a container usually contains goods from different shippers or exporters. But the export document, the container sheet does not mention which shipping bill contains the goods. In many cases, garments made of different types of fabrics are exported on a particular bill of export, so the weight of the goods loaded in a container varies. The committee members verified the details of two containers at two depots.
A container of SAPL depot was verified from Assykuda, Avni Knitwear Limited reputed garment company exported garments through SAPL depot on 21 February 2022. According to the bill of export, the company exported only 269.70 kg of product in 40 HC containers. But the verification of the documents in the depot showed that a total of 8 thousand 990.90 kg of t-shirts, pants and women’s clothes were exported through 19 bills of export in that container. Four garment companies exported these garments in the said container to the same buyer namely Tesco Store Limited. But there is no other exporter and their product name in Asycuda system except Avani for that container. But apart from Avni, there were 8 thousand 721.20 kg products of four other shippers in that container.
On the other hand, verification of a container of EBIL depot from Assykuda showed that on July 14 this year, SMH New Generation Apparels Limited of Gazipur exported 88.75 kg of ladies sweaters in a 40 HQ container. But checking the documents of the depot showed that 8 thousand 800.12 kg of different types of clothes were exported through seven bills of export in that container. In addition to SMH New Generation, 8 thousand 711.37 kg of products of three other companies have been exported in that container.
According to the report, SAPL and EBIL depots are inspected and export documents taken from there are reviewed to determine the full loading capacity of FCL containers for export of various types of garments. It shows that although weight is an important factor in determining the loading capacity of a container, CBM is actually considered the fundamental one. Usually 20 and 40 feet, 40 and 45 HC containers are loaded with products of 30, 60, 70 and 80 CBM respectively. Depending on the type of garment, the weight in a container varies even though the CBM is the same. Denim products weigh more than other garment products such as jersey T-shirts, sweat shirts, pull overs, woven shirts, pants. Different types of garments are weighted according to the size of the container. It has been observed that a 20 feet container of denim garments weighs 9-10 metric tons if the CBM is 30. A 40 feet container weighs 14-15 metric tons if it is 60 CBM. A 20ft container of garments made of jersey and other light weight fabrics will weigh 5-6 metric tons if the CBM is 30. If the CBM of a 40 feet or 40 or 45 HC container is 60-80, the weight will be 10-12 metric tons. If the poffer jacket is 20 feet CBM 30, the weight will be three and a half tons.
According to the report, as the module of the Asycuda World System is currently import-centric, it does not fully display export information. There is no system to display the total weight of the container in case of export in Assycuda system. Rather, the way bill is as per the information in the export bill of entry and the container weight is displayed as per the gross weight of the shipping bill.
The committee members made six recommendations in the report to address the problem. These include, firstly, provision for the container in which the goods were exported to be shown on the bill of lading against any shipping bill; So that it can be confirmed whether any other product has been exported with that container or not. Provision to display container weight (VGM) according to type of container i.e. LCL or FCL. Secondly, to make arrangements to display the container number of the exported goods in the bill of export. Third, it is time-consuming to investigate the reasons why exports are less than imports for a particular organization. However, in case of 100% export-oriented companies, a letter can be sent to the Bond Commissionerate for auditing as well as supervision every year. In the case of 100% export-oriented companies, as the general bond has a term of three years and the availability is to be provided by BGMEA or BKMEA, the company does not show interest in doing the audit even though a letter has been sent for the audit. The duration of the general bond may be extended to one year as in the case of a disguised exporter to find genuine loopholes.
Fourthly, it can be ensured that the freight forwarders mention the gross weight along with the container description while submitting the EGM or bill of loading. Fifthly, it can be ensured that the EGM is fully implemented. Sixth, provision to display container type and weight while searching well bill by container in Asycuda system.
According to the report highlighting the reason why exports are less than imports, the actual data of import-export of any one organization is available. The Bond Commissionerate conducts an annual audit of any institution. If the audit is done as per the rules, there is no chance of exports being less than imports. Bonding period of imported raw materials of 100% export-oriented companies is two years. That’s why garments made from that raw material are exported as per the instructions of the buyer. Raw materials which are imported towards the end of a calendar year, are usually not exportable in that year. There is usually an opportunity to export garments made from that raw material the following year or the year after that. That is why accurate information is not available when checking the import-export data of a particular year from Assykuda.
It has also been said that in case of disguised exporters, the general bond has a tenure of one year and annual availability from the bond commissionerate. As a result, the general bond is audited every year from the concerned bond commissionerate for extension of tenure and import availability. In the case of 100% export-oriented companies, what kind of products can be imported, the commissariat reviews the needs of the buyer and approves the HS code. But against that HS code availability on demand is provided by BGMEA or BKMEA. In the case of 100% export-oriented companies, as the general bond period is three years, there is no issue related to availability, but the company does not show interest in doing the audit every year, despite repeated letters for audit. As a result, it is not possible to verify the exact data of import-export of a particular year.
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