The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) said that businesses require longer than 11 days to release goods from the Chattogram port, found by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in a recent study, media reported.
“Actually, it takes longer to get goods from the port as the NBR still physically examines the related documents against shipments, which is a time-consuming practice that has been dropped in most countries,” said MCCI President Md Saiful Islam.
He was speaking at a luncheon for business journalists at the MCCI office in Dhaka, then said the time needed to release goods would greatly reduce if shipping documents were submitted and assessed online.
Islam pointed to a study by the World Bank that said Bangladesh’s trade would increase by about 14.3% if port facilities, such as customs clearance, were made efficient.
He also said that it does not require money for trade facilitation. What is needed is a positive mindset.
The MCCI president also suggested the government make trade licenses valid for five years so that businesses do not need to spend money and time on renewing them annually.
Moreover, renewing trade licenses in union parishad areas is tougher compared to the process under city corporation areas, he added.
So, issuing long-term trade licenses will ultimately improve the ease of doing business.
He also said that if companies are given environmental certification for a five-year period, then authorities could inspect their activities periodically and cancel the license if any irregularities are found.
Bangladesh has been gradually losing its competitiveness in international trade due to poor logistics infrastructure.
However, different studies suggest that if the country improves its logistics infrastructure by 17%, then it will see a 7% jump in trade, which will prove essential after the country loses its preferential trade benefits as an LDC.
Bangladesh is set to graduate from the group of least developed countries (LDCs) in 2026.
Habibullah N Karim, vice-president of the MCCI, and Adeeb Hossain Khan, director, also spoke.