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RMG exporters demand end to illegal delivery of goods
Bangladeshi garments industries are losing huge amount of foreign exchange from export earnings every year because of illegal delivery of exported goods by the freight forwarders and shipping agents.
International buyers use such undocumented deliveries and do not pay the bills for exported goods.
Exporters termed this non-payment trend which is continuing for the last 10 years as the highest risk to the readymade garment sector and demanded stern legal framework for recovering the money from the freight forwarders and shipping agents.
‘Bangladeshi exporters are losing around $20 million or Tk 160 crore of export earnings every year due to this problem,’ Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told New Age recently.
He said that according to law, no shipping agent or forwarder could deliver exported goods without documents endorsed by banks. But the shipping agents and transport operators were doing so which caused a huge loss in export earnings every year.
Exporters suffer as shipping agents and freight forwarders create an illegal nexus with buyers and deliver the goods without bank documents, he alleged.
BGMEA has demanded that Bangladesh Bank and the National Board of Revenue should take stern legal action by amending the existing laws against those delinquent shipping agents and freight forwarders forcing them to pay the money to the exporters.
Currently, the BGMEA has been arbitrating with an Indian buyer named Liliput, which did not pay to 22 exporters around $50 lakh.
Shafiul Islam said that many exporters did not usually come to BGMEA with their claims as they try to solve the problems internally or do not want to go in for bad relations with the buyers.
Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president AM Mahbub Chowdhury, who has been working on this issue, told New Age that around 1,000 RMG factories, out of 5,388, have already been shut down across the country because they did not get the money for their exported goods.
CMCCI has sent a letter to NBR demanding amendment of the law which would force the forwarders and shipping agents to pay the money if they deliver the goods without bank documents.
According to the CMCCI proposal, the shipping agents or transport operators must have to pay the prices of the goods, including bank interest, if they deliver the goods without bank documents.
Mahbub Chowdhury said exporters did not get billions of US dollars over the years just because of their unscrupulous shipping agents.
He said that BGMEA and CMCCI were getting many complaints from exporters about not getting exports bills because of this reason.
Factories, particularly the new ones, could not survive after losing the export earnings of one or two export consignments which force them to shut down or go out of production, he said.
Even in last month, some factories from Chittagong including Dress Makers and Phoenix complained about non getting payments for their exports, he said.
According to the existing Customs Act-1969, any shipping and freight forwarding agent or any multimodal transport operator could not deliver exported goods without bank and transport documents endorsed by banks, Mahbub Chowdhury pointed out.
All responsibility of exported goods should be upon the shipping and transport agents from the time of receiving the consignment for delivery, the custom act says.
Mahbub said that the law said everything about the responsibility of forwarders but did not say anything about recovering the money.
‘So we demand a provision which will force the forwarders and shipping agents to pay the money for exported goods if they deliver the consignments without bank documents,’ he said.
[ Business ] 2012-05-29