Automation of Customs at Shah Amanat International Airport

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Chattaogram, Shah Amanat International Airport’s passengers will be able to get their goods released quickly after paying the customs’ tax, without any inconvenience. Moreover, tax evasions or frauds on imported goods will be reduced. This success will be achieved in the airport’s cargo department through customs’ automation system.

The process of releasing the goods at Shah Amanat Airport is through the online system of Asycuda World, instead of the traditional way of releasing the goods. Mohammad Fakhrul Alam, Chattogram Customs’ Commissioner has inaugurated this automated approach on October 27th.

Additional Commissioner of the Custom House, Kazi Mohammad Ziauddin; Joint Commissioner Md. Mahbub Hasan; Deputy Commissioner Md Riyadul Islam; Assistant Director of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department, Tanvir Ahmed; Acting Manager of Shah Amanat Airport, Khairul Kabir, Manager of Sonali Bank’s Airport Branch, Md Touhidul Gani Chowdhury; Kazi Khairul Kabir, Cargo Supervisor of Shah Amanat and Kazi Mahmood Imam Bilu, Joint Secretary of the Chattogram Customs C&F Agent Association were all present at the event.

During the event, Commissioner of Customs, Fakhrul Alam, said that the Asycuda World’s automation system was launched at Chattogram’s Shah Amanat Airport as a part of building a digital Bangladesh, a vision led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This will ensure trade facilitation as well as increase revenue collection and reduce the nuisance that foreign commuters face to receive the goods. This will reduce airport scams and merchandise frauds.

Customs authority source said that more than 200 import shipments per week from Middle East, India and various other countries are released from Shah Amanat Airport. Weekly cargo aircraft, as well as regular commercial flights, bring a lot of goods to the country’s second-largest airport.

Overseas commuters’ direct goods are not so much in the cargo. Riyazuddin, a Chattogram based merchant, import these products in the name of overseas commuters. Overseas passengers do not import any products through cargo that are beyond the specified baggage rule.

There are allegations about many cases of smuggling, such as by the name of one good getting another illegal and high tariff good. It has come to the knowledge that customs, C&F agents and some airport staff are involved in these incidents.

Deputy Commissioner of Customs at Chattogram Airport, Riyadul Islam, told that due to the automated system, no goods have to go to the customs house for the tariffs. Passengers can pay the tariffs through Sonali Bank at the airport branch. This will help the businessman and commuter to get their goods released quickly.

On the other hand, fraud will be prevented in case of goods evacuation. Tax revenue collection will increase and commuters coming from overseas will suffer less. At the same time, the airport’s commodities will be reduced, he said.

Mohammad Darasico, Assistant Revenue Officer of Customs said, “We could not record any discounted shipment for so long. This method will maintain the records of all the goods and they will only be freed after the payment of the tariffs.”

He also said that the transparency in releasing the goods will be ensured at the airport’s cargo branch just like the way it is insured at the Chattogram Port.

Managing Wing Commander of Shah Amanat International Airport, Sarwar-E-Zaman, said, “With the modern and digitalization of the customs system at airports around the world, we have gone a step further with the introduction of this automated system. We believe that there will be no complication about the release of the goods which are being imported by the passengers traveling through this airport.”

Golam Rabbani Reagan, Joint General Secretary of the Chattogram’s C&F Agents Association, welcomed the Chattogram Customs initiative, saying, “We have been planning from a long time to implement this but that was not possible because of Sonali Bank. There are no interruptions anymore.” He thinks that it will be possible to do the work at the airport itself and there won’t be any need to go to the custom house. Transparency will be ensured for the tariffs, revenue will not be compromised and work will be accelerated.