Irregularities push down revenue collection at Bhomra Port

Published : 10 Jan 2023 07:12 PM

Satkhira Bhomra land port has bottomed out in 6 months of revenue collection. But in terms of geographical location, the distance from Satkhira to Kolkata is only 75 km. Due to which the importers and exporters show more interest in using Bhomra port, but due to the lack of opportunity to import and export all goods through this port, the traders are deprived of the real facilities of the port. According to the users of the port, if there is an opportunity to import and export all goods and the infrastructure development of the port, the revenue of the government from this port will be more than thousands of crores of rupees.

Due to the effect of ongoing Russia-Ukraine war after the Corona epidemic, the revenue collection deficit of Satkhira Bhomra land port for 6 months in the current financial year is Tk 253 crore 21 lakh. In the financial year 2022-23, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has set a target of Tk 1,262,220,000 for revenue collection from Bhomra customs station. In view of this, only 277 crore 30 lakh taka has been achieved in 6 months against the fixed revenue of 530 crore 51 lakh. Deficit 253 crore 21 lakh taka.

According to the information received from the office of revenue officer of Bhomra land port, in the financial year 2022-23, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has set a target of Tk. The target of revenue collection in 6 months is Tk 530 crore 51 lakh. Out of this, July 66 lakh 15 thousand, August 84 lakh 41 thousand, September 96 lakh 69 thousand, October 1 crore 58 lakh, November 98 lakh 56 thousand and December 84 lakh 12 thousand. The collection deficit is 253 million 21 lakh taka.

Despite declaring the Bhomra customs station in Satkhira as a full-fledged land port, the port users are not getting the opportunity to import and export all the goods. And because of this, the government is deprived of the possibility of collecting thousands of crores of rupees annually. It can be seen that in the past financial years, the government has collected huge amount of revenue through this port which is three times the target level. However, since there is no opportunity to import and export all goods through this port and there is no infrastructure development, the traders are losing interest in using this port day by day. The import and export operations of the port have not returned to normal due to various reasons including the global recession due to the Russia-Ukraine war, the rise in commodity prices, and the dollar crisis. Due to which the revenue collection target of 6 months has not been achieved in the current financial year. On the one hand the businessmen are facing losses of crores of rupees, on the other hand the government has also lost a huge amount of revenue. Apart from this, the reluctance of traders to import goods through Bhomra port is another reason for revenue shortfall.

Mizanur Rahman, the owner of Azad Klia Port Agencies, explained the reason why importers have reduced the use of Bhomra port. No concession is given on import of goods through Bhomra port. So traders turned away from Bhomra port. There is also a shortfall in the revenue sector.

He also said that traders are given special benefits if they import raw material products through Benapole port. It is not provided at Bhomra port. A concession of one to three tonnes per truckload of raw material is given at the port. There not even a single kg is exempted at Bhomra port.

There are various mismanagement including time delay in import. As a result, traders flocked to the port of Benapole. Mizanur Rahman mentioned that if the businessmen are given a little discount, the businessmen will become interested in using Bhomra port again.

Explaining the reason for the revenue shortfall, he also said that due to the shortage of dollars due to the global recession, he explained the unequal competition of the two ports in the last three years, including LC Napawa of raw materials, as one of the reasons. At Benapole port, the traders are given facilities for all goods. On the other hand, the traders at Bhomra port are denied. As a result, traders have faced thousands of crores of Tk loss. At present, import and export activities are active in the port, but the normal speed has not returned to the port as before.

Bhomra Land Port C&F Association General Secretary Maksudur Rahman said, when Bhomra Port was established in 1996, the revenue target was Tk 1 crore. Now a target of more than a thousand crore rupees is set. Originally, there was an opportunity to import 75 products through the port, but actually 25-30 products are imported.

He said that due to dual policy, slow pace of infrastructure development and neglect of local political leaders identified as another reason for not achieving the target of Bhomra land port. Bhomra port has been in competition with the neighboring Benapole port since its inception. Compared to the amount of facilities provided to traders in these two ports, Bhomra port traders do not get any facilities. Previously raw materials and fruits were not imported through Benapole port. Traders used to import through Bhomra port. At present raw materials and fruits are being imported through Benapole port.

As a result, the revenue of Bhomra port has decreased as many traders now import goods through Benapole port for business convenience. It is only natural that traders will lean towards where they have the most advantage.

He also said, there is a custom house in Benapole. The commissioner himself works there. He managed the port on his own as he was answerable to NBR for revenue collection. As a result, businessmen get opportunities. On the other hand, as Khulna Commissionerate was run in the absence of customs house at Bhomra port, he was not responsible for revenue collection. As a result, Bhomra, run by the Deputy Commissioner, identified the port as one of the reasons for the shortfall in revenue collection.

Bhomra Land Port Customs Deputy Commissioner Neyamul Hasan said that the reason for not achieving the target is that the traders have reduced the import through Bhomra port. In addition, the deficit has been caused by the global recession and Russia's war in Ukraine. When asked about the benefits, he tactfully avoided. He also said that if all the port traders had the same policy instead of dual policy, the revenue collection at Bhomra port would have increased several times.