Transit fees likely to be the same among four nations
Fees for transit cargo or passenger vehicles under the motor vehicle agreement among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) are likely to be identical among the four countries.
For instance, if Bangladesh decided to levy Tk 100 as fee, India may also charge the same amount, said MAN Siddique, secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division.
The protocol for the agreement, signed on June 15 in Bhutan for seamless transit of passenger, cargo and personal vehicles among the four countries, will be fixed at the two-day joint secretary-level technical committee meeting starting in Dhaka today, he said.
The fee structure and the routes to be used will be discussed at the meeting but will be finalised later, according to the secretary.
About the routes, Siddique said Bangladesh will open only those roads for cargo movement that are connected with functional land ports.
The four nations are aiming to start movement of vehicles under the agreement in January next year.
Under the agreement, India and Bangladesh can take transit facilities from each other. On the other hand, Nepal and Bhutan would get transit facilities from both Bangladesh and India.
About the transit, the draft protocol says the manner of customs inspections in the country of transit for various types of vehicles/containers and conditions under physical examination of cargo would be waived.
Each country shall authorise a national agency or association to issue a document for transit clearance to guarantee the customs authority of transit country payment of customs duties and taxes, it said.
The countries concerned shall mutually recognise the authorised issuing or guaranteeing agency/association and their liabilities.
The fees and charges shall be retained by the party that is levying and collecting them. The option of electronic payment should also be offered, according to the protocol.
A team from the Asian Development Bank will also participate in the upcoming Dhaka meeting to facilitate the talks.
The Manila-based multilateral lender has been working for long to increase connectivity in the sub-region to boost trade in South Asia.
Under South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Programme, the ADB has financed various road projects in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
For the next five years, a total of 30 priority road projects totalling over $8 billion have been identified to fill and upgrade critical connection in the BBIN area, said Wencai Zhang, vice-president of ADB.
ADB will more than double its lending to Bangladesh over the next three years, attaching priority to connectivity projects linking the country to India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Zhang was present during the signing of the agreement at Thimphu in June.