To ensure business continuity following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, BUILD and IFC organized a virtual workshop on Health Safety Guidelines for Business Continuity and Trade Facilitation during COVID-19 for Dhaka Custom House on 28 February 2021. This initiative is supported by Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund II, which is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group and funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). The workshop’s objectives were to sensitize concerned service providers and service takers to maintain health safety measures to run businesses even in the post-COVID stage to mitigate export losses.
Muhammed Mahbubur Rahman, Additional Commissioner, Custom House, Dhaka, highlighted steps taken by the Dhaka Customs to smooth and effectively implement their daily tasks while maintaining health safety protocol.
The Custom House clears 3,000-4,000 bill of ladings (B/L) every day while minimizing risks and ensuring quality so that COVID exemptions are not abused. He stated that in order to maintain export and import growth as well as manage the supply chain, they worked hard so that revenue collection does not fall. Because of their sincerity, import growth has remained steady.
In the beginning, Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD welcomed the participants and mentioned that the likely losses of export earnings annually for the country could be about USD 7 billion after the LDC graduation by 2026. We need to be prepared for that and start working in a coordinated manner to stave off the potential negative impact.
She also referred that the revenue collection in different heads such as supplementary duty, export and VAT at the domestic stage has been reduced in the month of December 2020 compared to those in the corresponding month of 2019. The worst sufferers are the small entrepreneurs, while there was a decline in turnover tax of 31% in the corresponding period as mentioned above. She added that we need to apply the double speed strategy to overcome the challenges at the COVID recovery stage.
Nusrat Nahid, Private Sector Specialist, International Finance Corporation, made a presentation highlighting health safety issues and informed about the impacts of the COVID-19 in trade. She stressed the need to maintain different health and safety guidelines even after the roll-out of the vaccines.
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