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C&F agents end strike after NBR assurance

Staff Correspondent
30 Jan 2023 21:23:45 | Update: 30 Jan 2023 21:58:12
C&F agents end strike after NBR assurance
— File Photo

The Federation of Bangladesh Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association has called off their two-day strike after the National Board of Revenue (NBR) assured of taking the organisation’s demands into consideration.

“The C&F agents of the Chattogram Customs Agents Association went back to work at around 4:30pm,” said Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, general secretary of the Chittagong Customs Agents Association, which is part of the C&F agents’ federation.

“The NBR chairman has sent a letter expressing his interest in discussing our demands on February 7. Out of respect to him, we have suspended the strike,” said Imam.

On Sunday, the federation had announced a two-day strike on January 30 and 31 at all customs houses and customs stations across the country, demanding amendment to the customs agent licensing rules formed by the NBR.

Md Sultan Hossain Khan, the association’s secretary general, announced the strike in a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Sunday. The federation’s President Shamsur Rahman was among others present on the occasion.

The association claimed that there are elements in the Customs Agents Licensing Rules 2016 and 2020 that go against the fundamental rights of customs clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents.

Despite repeated requests to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), no amendment has been brought so far, they mentioned. The association recently placed its demand in a letter sent to the NBR, which was revealed in the press conference.

Chattogram Customs Agents Association also sent a letter to the revenue board, voicing the same demand, and called a strike on January 30 and 31 if the board does not amend relevant licensing rules by January 28.

The C&F agents’ federation said at the press conference that it has repeatedly urged the NBR to amend several necessary rules after the board framed the C&F Agents Licensing Rules-2016. But their demands were not taken into consideration.

Even during the formulation of the Customs Agent Licensing Rules-2020, the NBR did not discuss the issue of amendment with the association’s leaders.

The association claims that it proposed amending some rules and sub-rules of the licensing rules during the national budget 2022-2023, as those rules violate the basic rights of all C&F agents in the country.

However, even after the association’s proposal, the authorities concerned did not make any amendments.

The association proposed withdrawing the non-renewal of licensing rules from the regulations.