Every year, just before the budget is announced, car imports through the country's main seaports Chattogram and Mongla increase all of a sudden.
This year too is not an exception. On Tuesday, only two days before the budget was announced, 270 vehicles arrived at the two ports from Japan via Singapore to avoid higher tariff of the new budget.
On Tuesday, MV Malaysia Star unloaded 244 vehicles at Jahati Mongla Port and reached Chittagong Port on Thursday to unload another 36 vehicles. C&F agents have hurriedly started unloading the vehicles from ports as per the tariff rate for the fiscal year 2019-20.
According to car importers, car sales declined because of coronavirus-induced closure of business. The import of cars, however, started to peak before the announcement of the budget amid fear that they would face more losses if the tariff rate was increased in the new budget.
Abdul Haq, president of Barvida, an association of reconditioned car dealers, told The Business Standard that car imports increases before the budget is announced every year.
However, many vehicles got stuck in Chittagong and Mongla ports before the budget was announced due to public holidays over Covid-19. Around 8,000 vehicles are waiting to be unloaded at ports.
Chittagong Customs House Commissioner Mohammad Fakhrul Alam told The Business Standard that the bill of entry, filed till 5pm on June 10, would allow the importers to unload the car or any other consignment as per duties of 2019-20 financial year.
In case of submission of bill of entry after that, the consignment of goods will have to be unloaded as per the tariff rate fixed for the new fiscal year 2020-21.
In 2018, before the announcement of the budget, 3,174 vehicles were unloaded from three ships at Chittagong and Mongla ports. Barvira also wrote a letter to the Chittagong Port Authority at that time to unload the vehicle quickly.
Besides, on the night before the budget of 2009-10, taxation was done for 1,618 vehicles at Chittagong port with unusual speed. C&F agents got involved in a competition of importing and unloading cars after they had known in advance that the tariff would be increased.