Bangladesh’s largest land port Benapole has been facing stagnancy in recent times as it is seeing a gradual decline in imports and revenue income.
Trucks are stuck on the other side of Benapole with goods because of a syndicate.
Traders have complained that in the Petrapole port on the Indian side, people from the municipality stop trucks to extort money. It takes loaded trucks 15-20 days to enter Bangladesh because of extra regulations at Benapole check post.
Only 250 trucks pass through Benapole a day now -- down from 500.
Traders have blamed the BGB, customs and the port administration for registering the trucks separately and delaying the overall process.
On the other hand, traders have started using the Chittagong port for imports because of the higher taxes imposed at Benapole.
Revenue collection is dropping as importers have started smuggling goods due to different complications at Benapole.
Even after several rounds of meetings between traders and customs officers from the two countries under the order of National Revenue Board Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, the situation has improved little.
It is believed that the creation of a task force at Benapole and Petrapole will boost trade and revenue collection.
Benapole Customs C&F Agents Association President Mofizur Rahman concurred, adding that the government was facing a loss in revenue collection because of the decreasing number of trucks entering through Benapole.
Meanwhile, a meeting was held between the leaders of different committees related to customs and port users in the Customs Commissioner Headquarters on Tuesday to find ways to increase revenue collection.
A decision was taken to provide a solution to the pervading problem through a joint meeting between the customs officers and traders from both countries.
The port traders’ associations from India held another meeting with Customs Commissioner Belal Hossain Chowdhury the same day.
They raised different points on how to increase the bilateral trade and demanded the creation of a task force immediately.
Belal said that countrywide work is being done to impose the same tax on identical products in the custom houses.
The lion's share of raw materials needed by different industries in the country, including the garment industry, are imported through the Benapole land port. Foreign buyers have been canceling orders because the raw materials are not being delivered on schedule.