The National Board of Revenue will conduct a study on all the active customs stations early next year to measure their actual performance.
The study will identify the bottlenecks that delay cargo release procedures at borders, said Md Nojibur Rahman, chairman of the NBR.
He disclosed the plan while addressing the opening ceremony of a four-day national workshop on “time release study” at the Hotel Radisson Blu Chittagong on Saturday.
The NBR has organised the workshop with technical support from the World Bank Group and the World Customs Organisation.
About 40 participants from customs, ports, testing institutions, plant quarantine, border clearance agencies and trade bodies are attending the workshop.
The time release study measures the average time taken between the arrival of goods and their release. It helps customs identify both the problem areas and potential corrective actions to increase their efficiency.
Following the methodology introduced by the World Customs Organisation, the World Bank Group assisted the customs offices in conducting the time release studies at Chittagong Customs House, Dhaka Customs House, Benapole Customs House and Dhaka Inland Container Depot Customs House in 2013-2014.
This time the NBR plans to conduct the study on its own. The study will cover all active customs stations, including six customs houses and land customs stations, in the country.
Most stakeholders, including the private sector, will be engaged in the study, said Mohammad Ehteshamul Hoque, first secretary for customs modernisation and international trade of the NBR.
Data for the study will be collected in January or February in 2018, while the report is expected to be complete by March.
Hoque said an action plan would be formulated at the end of the workshop. Quoting World Bank statistics, Khondaker Md Aminur Rahman, member for customs audit, modernisation and international trade at the NBR, said import clearance time came down by four days on average at each of the four customs houses after the studies in 2013-14.
The customs offices take three to four days to clear import consignments from ports, said Rahman. “It needs to be improved.” Once the National Single Window, an electronic portal bringing all government agencies dealing with imports and exports under a platform, is introduced, the delivery of goods would be faster, he added.
Md Lutfor Rahman, member of customs policy at the NBR, Sanjay Suda, technical expert of the World Bank Group for customs modernisation, and Prokash Dewan, commissioner of the Dhaka Customs House, also spoke.