Virtual workshop on health safety guidelines held

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) today organized a virtual workshop on health safety guidelines for Dhaka Custom House in order to ensure trade facilitation following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

This initiative was 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 objectives of the workshop were to sensitize concerned service providers and service takers to maintain health safety measures to run businesses even in the post-COVID-19 stage to mitigate export losses, said a press release.

Muhammed Mahbubur Rahman, additional commissioner, custom house, Dhaka highlighted the steps taken by the Dhaka Customs for smooth and effective implementation of their daily tasks while maintaining health safety protocol.

The Custom House clears 3,000-4,000 bill of ladings (B/L) everyday while minimizing risks and ensuring quality so that COVID-19 exemptions are not abused.

Mahbubur 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.

In the beginning, Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD mentioned that the likely losses of export earnings annually for the country could be about $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 added.

Ferdous also referred that the revenue collection in different heads such as supplementary duty, export and VAT at domestic stage has been reduced in the month of December 2020 compared to those in the corresponding month of 2019.

Nusrat Nahid, private sector specialist, IFC, made a presentation highlighting issues of health safety and informed about the impacts of the COVID-19 in trade.

She stressed on the need to maintain different health and safety guidelines even after the roll-out of the vaccines.

Nusrat also requested the relevant stakeholders to maintain these health guidelines whenever they visit the respective Custom Houses.

She also showcased some audiovisuals on health safety guidelines which was prepared after carefully reviewing all the different health protocols and guidelines issued by the government, NBR and WHO.

Dr. Mohammad Abul Hasnat, international public health specialist, emphasized on the policy level decision for addressing this type of pandemic and appreciated the role of the government for all time-bound policies to address the pandemic.

He also emphasized on the occupational and health safety as a regular practice.

Ivan Peterson, consultant of IFC highlighted the role of AEO which in future would contribute further to custom clearance in the country.

High officials from Customs House, Dhaka and private sector officials of the trade-related agencies participated in the workshop.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)