The National Board of Revenue (NBR) plans to make it mandatory for businesses to submit import declarations within 72 hours of arrival of goods at the port to ease container congestion.
Known as bill of entry, there are instances that importers do not submit the documents for days to the customs authority to clear goods from ports, which causes huge congestion.
"We will incorporate a provision of penalty in the law for non-submission of bills of entry within 72 hours of arrival of goods," said Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman, a member of NBR for customs audit, modernisation and international trade.
The disclosure came at an event on ease of doing business in the office of the Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) in Dhaka. The ERF, the NBR and International Finance Corporation (IFC) jointly organised the programme.
The government is working to implement the National Single Window (NSW) project to provide services to businesses by bringing 39 agencies under a single roof to speed up the process of international trade, Rahman said.
There would be significant improvement in the process of doing business once the NSW project is implemented, he said, adding that it would take one to two days to clear imported items from port.
To facilitate faster trade, the NBR also plans to limit physical examination of import-export consignment to less than 3 to 5 per cent, according to Rahman.
The revenue authority is also working to install an increased number of scanners at ports and establish a central testing laboratory of its own.
"It is possible to do duty assessment if we get bill of entry in time," said Md Anwar Hossain, commissioner of Kamalapur Inland Container Depot in Dhaka.
Among others, Commissioners of Dhaka Customs House Md Moazzem Hossain, Customs Bond Commissionerate (Dhaka) SM Humayun Kabir and IFC's Private Sector Specialist Nusrat Nahid Babi and First Secretary of Customs Modernisation of NBR AAM Amimul Ehsan Khan spoke.