Dhaka airport to be declared as 'customs airport'

The government has planned to declare Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) as a customs airport, aiming to expedite export-import activities and check smuggling through the country's this main airport.

Quoting a senior NBR official, UNB reports that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in a recent Board meeting has decided to send a letter to the Finance Ministry to promulgate an ordinance soon in this regard.

After turning the HSIA into customs airport, he said, it will be easier to contain smuggling and tighten the security measurers at the airport.

A customs airport is an airport notified by the appropriate customs authorities of a country as an airport which shall be for the unloading of imported goods and the loading of export goods or any class of such goods. And such an airport may not have international commercial flights, and if they have, the customs officers may only be in attendance for scheduled international services. Such an airport may also have boarding stations in it or near them for the purpose of boarding of, or disembarkation from, vessels by officers of customs.

On January 21 last, Dhaka Customs House sent a letter to the NBR saying that they are facing some troubles due to non-declaration of HSIA and its jurisdiction areas as customs airport and customs station, and for lack of that it is also not possible to provide license to the goods handling authority.

The Board meeting was informed that the HSIA started its operation in 1980 while Dhaka Customs House in 1984, but the SRO (Statutory Regulatory Order) to declare HSIA as a customs airport has not yet been issued.

The Board has, therefore, emphasised the need for declaring the HSIA as a customs airport and the areas under its jurisdiction as the customs station as per the Customs Act 1969.

The meeting also underlined the importance of identifying a specific place for loading and unloading, and having a warehouse station.

The NBR official said gold smuggling through the HSIA has marked an unusual rise in recent times, as the Customs Intelligence Department seized gold worth Tk 1450 crore and arrested 130 people for their alleged involvement in the incidents over the last three years.

"So, the NBR thinks it's very much urgent to specify the jurisdiction of the Customs Station to contain gold smuggling effectively as well as ensure the security of the airport in a stricter way," he said.

He also mentioned that HSIA has all the facilities to be declared as the customs airport, but there is no specific periphery for the customs station. As per the law, the unloading of imported items at any other place rather than customs stations is illegal.

source : the daily sun

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