The National Board of Revenue has finalised draft rules on a faster release and disposal of perishable goods to ensure that quality and standards of the goods remain intact.
Customs wing of the revenue board on Tuesday published the draft rules tilted ‘Perishable Goods Speedy Disposal Rules-2021’ with a provision of releasing goods within 48 hours of the submission of bill of entry of imported goods.
The rules will also be applicable to export goods.
In the rules, 63 types of goods, including food and food grain, sugar, milk and milk products, frozen and processed meat, eggs, fruits, live animals, edible oil, chocolate, frozen and dried fish, fertiliser, raw hide, onion, garlic, chilli and foods, cosmetics, medicine and raw materials of medicine with six-month validity, and other goods with risks of faster quality fall, are identified as perishable goods.
Customs officials said that the board had already got opinions on the draft rules from the stakeholders, including Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association and port authorities across the country.
It also held a virtual meeting with the stakeholders on April 11 and decided to accommodate some of their observations in the rules.
The board will soon issue the rules, they said.
According to the draft rules, every customs house, customs, VAT excise and VAT commissionerate and customs station will constitute a specific desk or nominate a group of officials to expedite inspection, customs valuation and release of perishable goods.
The customs offices must have to complete inspection, valuation and release of perishable goods within 48 hours after the submission of bill of entry if taxes and duties are cleared and there are no other directions or special information from customs commissioner or any other agencies about the consignments.
Importers and exporters or their agents will be able to submit bill of entry and bill of export on the customs’ computer system at any time of a day and customs officials will complete the procedures to release the goods, the rules said.
Importers and exporters will have to pay the duties, taxes and applicable to the goods through the electronic payment method determined by the revenue board.
The customs authorities, however, will allow the traders to pay the duty through banking channel until the electronic payment system is implemented completely.
Under the rules, customs will dispose of through auctions the perishable goods that are imported or placed for export through false declaration, violating import policy, not complying with certification conditions of other government agencies and prohibited.
Customs will also be allowed to sell or transfer import-prohibited seized and unreleased perishable goods such as sugar and salt, which cannot be disposed of through auctions due to various reasons, to the state-owned agencies such as Trading Corporation of Bangladesh without any auction.
Customs officials said that customs houses and customs commissionerates usually ensured a faster clearance of perishable goods with their own best practices.
But there is no legally binding provision in the customs law for a fast-track clearance of perishable goods and no comprehensive list of such goods, they said.