One stop service at Ctg port may cut short lengthy clearance

09 October 2021

Media reports have said entrepreneurs in Bangladesh need as many as 39 approvals of government agencies before their goods are released from Chattogram port thus seriously hurting business. Most such clearances involve bureaucratic maneuvering and corruption causing severe delay and congestion in releasing goods. This eventually raises the cost of doing business hurting business competitiveness, said Bangladesh Business Climate Index (BBX) report launched virtually on Thursday. We must say ports are international gateways to business and smooth and efficient handling of incoming and outgoing cargoes must be the number one priority in our port management - be it seaborne or airborne traffic. We know that over a dozen committees were formed in the past few decades to reform the customs clearance system but the presence of 39 approval barricades shows nothing substantial has happened to simplify the system. Bureaucracy never yields to relinquishing its power. So business continues to suffer.
We would support a recent proposal of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for bringing all such clearance or approval requirements under a one stop service. One has not to move to every place that would save time and money and also help curb high end corruption involving every such movement. The Bangladesh Business Climate Index report has rightly said small businesses, particularly those involved in trading goods suffered the most as they needed certificates from various government agencies. Big and powerful businesses have their line-ups but small business people don't have much knowledge about the standard clearance or approval process and also lack financial capability to meet undue demands.
It is quite difficult to meet the approval requirements particularly when dishonest customs officials employ harassing tactics. This is a big barrier to a better business and investment climate and we share the opinion of most stakeholders that we have to think in a new way and do business differently to avoid lengthy harassing clearance processes. We would say improvement in cargo handling and port management is long overdue as the seaborne and airborne business volume is shooting up. As the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is slowly disappearing and foreign trade and investment is bouncing back, port congestion and quick port handling must be ensured to stay firm in global competition.

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