New guidelines for timely disposal of perishable goods
Ibrahim Khalil: The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has announced new rules to speed up the import and export of 63 different types of perishable commodities through the ports.
The “Perishable Goods Speedy Release and Disposal Regulations 2021,” signed by NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, will allow officials to speed up the customs duty process and make port discharge easier.
NBR Public Relations Officer (Director) Syed A Mu’men confirmed the matter yesterday. The products that can now be quickly discharged are: livestock, birds and animals, ducks, chicken and poultry, frozen fish, fish fry, yeast, plants and seedlings, mushrooms, fresh flowers, fresh fruits, fresh capsicum, raw rubber, all kinds of seeds including plum, dates, unprocessed tobacco, oilseeds, potatoes, cereals and grains, and lentils.
The list also includes sugar, black salt, common salt, testing salt, milk and dairy products, frozen and processed meats, poultry eggs, chocolate, biscuits, vermicelli, chips, noodles, chanachur, pickles, dried fruits, tea leaves, coffee, betel nut, coconut, ghee, butter oil, molasses, nuts, fertilizers, rawhides, beets, onions, garlic,
chillies, ginger, raw turmeric, fresh and frozen vegetables, tamarind, soya berry D, raisins, all food and cosmetics for a period not exceeding six months, medicines and medicinal raw materials and edible oils.
Due to various hitches, perishable goods remain at different customs houses in the ports for long periods of time.
This inefficiency causes importers to suffer and the government ends up losing timely revenue.
To discharge perishable goods swiftly, each customs house must organize a distinct group of no more than five members, according to the rules.
Furthermore, assuming all of the requirements are followed, the process of customs clearance for perishable commodities must be completed in no more than 48 hours.
The rules on rapid disposal of perishable goods further state: “Any importer or exporter may submit a bill of entry to any system within 24 hours if they desire.”
If an importer does not unload the goods within the stipulated time, an officer of the rank of deputy commissioner (DC) will settle the matter of auction or destruction.
In case of shipments of goods selected for physical examination or non-intrusive inspection, if there is any query or doubts, it will be recorded under the Inspection Act and sent to the concerned branch within 12 hours of monitoring.
The draft guidelines do state, however, that this timeframe can be extended with the consent of the concerned commissioner.
Furthermore, seized products such as sugar, salt, and other commodities might be sold or transferred at a fixed price in collaboration with the Bangladesh Trading Corporation (TCB).
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