Chattogram customs falls short of import tax target

Chattogram Custom House has fallen short of its import tax collection target by around 17 per cent in the just-concluded fiscal year of 2022-23. 

This is worse than that in the preceding year, when the shortfall was nearly 8 per cent.

However, this time the receipts were up by 4 per cent year-on-year.

Around Tk 61,633 crore was collected in tariffs and duties, according to the customs house.

It accounted for some 18 per cent of the year’s revenue collection by the National Board of Revenue, which works through its three wings — customs, VAT and income tax.

Value added tax (VAT) is the biggest source of revenue for the state, this time around accounting for some 40 per cent of the overall collection.

On another note, only 40 types of goods generated over half, or 52 per cent, of the import tax.

To put it into context, about 4,789 types of goods have been imported through the port in the year.

Overall, they were worth Tk 462,460 crore.

In the preceding year, around Tk 402,460 crore was spent behind imports which came through the port.

Four types of fuel oil — diesel, furnace oil, crude oil and octane — generated the biggest amount of revenue by far, or about Tk 12,711 crore.

Cement clinker accounted for the second biggest, although it was just one-fifth in value.

The other prime import tax generators are apples, oranges and grapes (Tk 1,789 crore), broken or crushed stone (Tk 1,312 crore), hot rolled steel (Tk 1,028 crore), palm oil (Tk 837 crore), coal (Tk 760 crore) and scrap metal (Tk 633 crore).

In this sequence, milk powder, crude edible oil, lubricating oil, sugar and ceramic generated revenues in the range of Tk 561 crore to Tk 420 crore.

The 40 types of products also include recondition cars and parts, betel nuts and sugar.

These products have topped the list for the past decade. Moreover, increasing demand in the energy, power and construction sectors have kept up imports of fuel and stone, said customs officials.

They said it was possible to keep the duty and tariff annual receipts above Tk 50,000 crore for the past three fiscal years for, in part, increased surveillance aimed at preventing irregularities.

Amendments brought about to Customs Act-1969 in June 2020 also helped, as it established a minimum fine (200 per cent of the value of the imported goods) for false declarations during the import of goods.

Chattogram Custom Commissioner Mohammad Fyzur Rahman also spoke of having ensured good governance and of cases pending at courts being disposed of.

“…emphasis has also been laid on determining tariffs based on the actual prices of goods alongside adjustments in the international market,” he told The My News. 

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