The National Board of Revenue is moving forward with an idea to introduce container tracking system in the country following an instruction given by finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith though the customs officials consider the system less effective for traders.
Officials said that finance minister instructed them to take steps to introduce the system experimentally after US-based Alif Corporation expressed interest to get the job.
The revenue board, however, opined that the government might introduce the system experimentally through open tender following the public procurement rules for ensuring transparency and competition in awarding the jobs.
Awarding the job to any particular organisation based on their application may create monopoly in the business, they said.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry also gave opinion that the revenue board should follow the PPR to make the system cost effective for exporters and importers.
Generally, the system is good for businesses as it will ensure supply chain security in the context of the country where export and import goods carrying vehicles frequently face incidences of hijacking and robbery on the streets, FBCCI officials said.
But the businesspeople have raised concerns over probable fees and security of containers, they said.
Continued on Under the system, an electronic small chip known as electronic seal and lock will be installed on every container and covered van, and the movement of the container will centrally be monitored for ensuring supply chain security in the international trade.
NBR officials said that the technology might be good for ensuring the security of export and import goods on streets and it would also prevent duty evasion through preventing leakage of goods imported under bonded warehouse facility.
‘But customs officials generally do not favour introduction of the system as only a small portion of total export-import goods is now transported by container while the most chunk of goods is carried by either covered van or truck,’ a customs official told New Age.
The technology will not be effective for trucks while it will increase cost of doing business in case of covered van, he said.
Considering all the issues, customs wing of the revenue board in last week sent a summery for Muhith’s consideration saying that the system may be introduced experimentally following PPR for some specific areas including containers carrying goods imported under bonded warehouse facility and transit goods.
Officials said that the government should also take stakeholders’ opinion before introducing the system.
The FBCCI also emphasised on selecting the service provider through following the PPR otherwise it might create monopoly and increase cost of doing business.
‘The FBCCI has suggested that the NBR should select the service provider through open tender so that the best one could get the job,’ an official of the FBCCI said
He said that Alif Corporation sought excessive fees for providing the service which would increase the cost of doing business.
On the other hand, the corporation also declined to take the responsibility of ensuring the security of containers at any circumstances, he said.
The question of fees and security still remain indecisive, he added.
-With New Age input