National Board of Revenue has issued a permanent order regarding disposal procedures of unreleased items from ports and smuggled products seized by the government agencies including customs authorities to expedite auction or destruction process of the goods under integrated guidelines.
Customs wing of NBR on January 10 issued a gazette notification in this connection incorporating disposal procedures of all types of goods including perishable goods, import-prohibited goods, unreleased imported goods, confiscated and seized goods on allegation of smuggling.
NBR has also incorporated automated auction system in order to check corruption and streamline the auction process including submission of tender and selection of bidders.
The order will be applicable to all customs houses and land customs stations.
Previously, there were separate orders for separate types of products while different customs houses followed their own procedures for disposal process, particularly in holding auction and destroying destroyable goods.
According to the latest order, customs authorities would deposit precious metal like gold, silver, platinum and foreign currencies to the nearest Bangladesh Bank or treasury bank branches within three days of receiving the valuables at customs warehouses.
If it is not possible to deposit the precious metal within the timeframe, customs authorities will have to hand over those to local branch or head office of Bangladesh Bank as soon as possible after complying with rules and regulations, it said, adding that until completion of deposit, the items should be preserved at warehouses with due security.
The government agencies responsible to prevent smuggling would hand over seized goods to customs warehouses while unreleased import and export goods should have to be transferred to customs or customs bonded auction warehouses.
Customs authorities would serve notices on traders giving 10 days for taking release of unreleased goods before confiscating those, the order said, adding that claimants of seized goods or other confiscated goods would also get the same timeframe to establish their demand.
All customs houses would form auction committee headed by an additional or joint commissioner.
The committee would arrange open auction for perishable goods immediately after receiving the items and would announce the time of auction through public address system at two kilometre radii of auction place.
It would follow secret auction process including e-auction for nonperishable goods.
Port authorities would provide the list of unreleased nonperishable goods within five days of expiry of deadline for release of import and export goods.
Besides, such goods would be automatically identified as red flagged in the Asycuda World System after expiry of allowable time for release. The timeframe varies from 21 days to 30 days.
Customs authorities would confiscate the goods in favour of the state if importer or exporter does not take release of the goods even after getting notices from customs offices.
According to the order, bidding firms must have updated trade licence, business identification number, and electronic taxpayers’ identification number while individual bidder must have updated e-TIN.
Customs commissioner would be allowed to appoint any organisation as auctioneer to assist the customs house or commissionerate to conduct auction.
The auctioneer would publish advertisements in at least two national dailies and one local daily before seven days of auction.
E-auction must be conducted through e-auction software under Bangladesh customs web site.
Customs would destroy alcohol, liquor and cigarette if those cannot be sold to authorised agencies and would destroy other import-prohibited, unreleased and confiscated goods if those cannot be disposed of in other ways.
Customs houses would have to arrange at least two auctions every month and one goods destruction activity in every six month, according to the order.