NBR to crop National Single Window project

FE REPORT | Wednesday, 26 January 2022

The revenue board has decided to trim the Tk 5.85 billion National Single Window (NSW) project detecting its overlapping components.

It has found components of NSW, one of largest projects, have already been covered by the existing Asycuda (Automated System for Customs Data) World under operation since 1994.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said the cost of the project would come down too.

He made these statements at a press briefing Tuesday on the occasion of International Customs Day being observed today (Wednesday).

The NSW, launched in 2019, aims to expedite export-import trade, transit goods movement and check duty evasion.

Of the total project cost, the World Bank would provide the major part amounting to Tk 5.29 billion while Tk 561 million will be spent from the government's coffers.

"We found it not feasible as money and time would be spent for some of the tasks already being done under Asycuda World," he said at the briefing held at the NBR premises.

NBR Member (VAT Policy) Zakia Sultana, also project director of NSW, said the project might be completed by the given time frame 2024 as pace of its work has been geared up.

The NBR chairman said implementation of NSW depends on the capacity of all of the relevant entities or departments, not only NBR.

Unfortunately, many are not prepared yet for integration under a single window, he said. In August 2018, the NBR signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 38 departments and entities to implement NSW.

Responding to a query on a recent allegation of the apex chamber on harassment by VAT and tax officials, the NBR chairman said complaints should be lodged to the concerned authority, not to the media.

He, however, acknowledged that there might be some current officials who could be brought under punitive action if NBR gets specific complaints against them.

The NBR chairman expects that customs revenue collection might not reduce to that alarming level even after graduation as imports will increase with the surge of domestic production.

Once the NSW system is implemented, it will enhance trade operations by eliminating paperwork and reducing time through maintaining up-to-date information.

Goal of the NSW was to benefit 319,000 Bangladeshi traders by reducing time and cost of trading in the fifth year of operation.

The average processing time for imports is expected to be reduced to 122 hours, and for exports to 88 hours.

Bangladesh submitted its WTO TFA (World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement) instrument of ratification in September 2016 with which it committed to implementing 37 measures of facilitating legitimate trade.

The National Single Window is under Article 10.4, which states: "members shall endeavour to establish a single window."

The NBR is observing the International Customs Day-2022 with the 183 countries of World Customs Organization (WCO) under a theme 'Scaling up customs digital transformation by embracing a data culture and building a data ecosystem,"

The NBR would honour the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) with WCO certificate of merit for its contribution to the national economic development today.

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