Customs goes automated Three trade facilitation tools launched


Business Desk :
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) and USAID/Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Activity (USAID-BTFA) Project jointly launched three newly developed trade facilitation tools - Customs National Enquiry Point (NEP), Customs Intelligence Hotline, and Auction Software for Customs, at a programme at a hotel in the city on Thursday.
M. A. Mannan, MP, State Minister for Finance and Planning inaugurated the programme as the chief guest. Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, chairman, NBR chaired the event.
Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), President, FBCCI and Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman, Member (Customs: Audit, Modernization and International Trade), NBR, attended the programme as special guests.
Ms. Zainah Salahi, Acting Mission Director, USAID Bangladesh was present at the programme as guest of honor.  In the beginning, the representative from NBR and USAID-BTFA presented an overview of NEP, Intelligence Hotline, and Auction Software.
Bangladesh is a signatory of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The TFA sets out a lot of measures for its member countries to facilitate international trade and commerce, the event was told.
As a compulsion of WTO TFA, Bangladesh has already taken a lot of initiatives to eliminate bottlenecks that throttle international trade. To keep pace with international best practices, the country has modernized existing rules and regulations, and automated practices according to the requirements of the WTO TFA.
The NBR informed the participants that they had already taken initiatives to implement National Single Window (NSW), Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), Post Clearance Audit (PCA), Advance Ruling, Risk Management, etc. If the authorities can successfully set up those measures, the costs and time for doing business will significantly be reduced.
As a trade facilitation tool, NEP will assist importers, exporters, researchers, students, and expatriates find answers to their customs-related queries online, without visiting NBR or any customs office in person. Visiting Bangladesh Customs website (www.bangladeshcustoms.gov.bd), the enquirers will find the icon named NEP that leads them to their desired questions and answers. The NBR is hopeful that the mechanism will reduce the cost and effort required to access necessary information, it was further told.
Another tool that was launched is Customs Intelligence Hotline Facilities through which any person will be able to send secret information to the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) directly. The Hotline Facilities includes phone calls, SMS, and mobile application options.