DHAKA: Import of spurious papers through “false declaration” goes unabated despite frequent request made to the government authorities concerned by the local producers to stop it.
An appeal was made to the Prime Minister, the finance minister and the NBR chairman five years ago to save local paper industries from the ills of substandard papers imported through false declaration.
Local paper manufacturers made the appeal on July 26, 2009. This type of request was made to the government authorities concerned on various occasions before and after the date. But import of papers through false declaration goes unchecked.
Besides, the market is being flooded with the papers which are being imported through bonded facility. As a result, the owners of local paper mills are facing trouble with huge amount of investment and manpower. The government is losing huge revenue and foreign currency being siphoned abroad.
On March 5 this year, the commerce ministry sent a letter to the NBR expressing its concern over the import of paper through false declaration. The ministry directed NBR not to release the paper imported through false declaration. The ministry’s order is aimed at protecting local paper sector from destruction and consumers from substandard product. Being directed by the ministry, NBR sent instructions to various customs stations asking them not to release illegally imported papers.
Despite such instructions, import and sale of imported papers are widespread. The representatives of law enforcement agencies and Anti-Corruption Commission and NBR are indifferent towards the issue.
During a period from April 2010 to November 2011, customs officials at Chittagong seized 71 consignments of papers imported through false declaration. There were 750 tons of papers in the consignments. Basically, those thin and white papers were imported in the name of art paper and ECG paper. Volume of such illegally imported paper increased day by day.
Some unscrupulous paper importers are getting their imported papers released through underhand dealings with a section of customs officials.
Quoting an order of the government dated September 30, 2008, art card bellow 300 GSM is not importable. Yet different organizations continue to import papers through false declaration.
Attempts to release more than 3,000 consignments of imported papers worth about Tk 800 crore went in vain due to opposition by customs officials. AIR division filed 600 cases in connection with import of papers through false declaration.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Golam Hossain said they already received letter from the commerce ministry and directed custom stations accordingly not to release papers imported through false declaration and examine of other imported papers.
According to import policy order 2012-2015, substandard product cannot be imported.
Under this circumstance, the Commerce Ministry has requested the Customs houses to keep vigilant so that the importers cannot unload the substandard products.
According to the Customs Intelligence Department, a huge amount of white papers which were imported in more than 3,000 consignments under a false declaration for importing bonded board and ECG papers were seized from Chittagong and Benapole ports. Meanwhile, a volume which is 10 times more than the seized papers entered the local market avoiding the notice of the authorities concerned. As a result, the local entrepreneurs are facing debacle.
BDST: 0838 HRS, APR 20, 2014
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