The Ministry of Commerce has formed a technical committee, headed by Joint Secretary Md Abdus Samad Al Azad, to formulate an integrated transit policy in the country for the first time.
The decision was taken at a meeting held in Dhaka on Tuesday with Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh in the chair. Representatives of various ministries and organisations were also present.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh said the transit policy was agreed upon by everyone. “It needs to be implemented for the interests of the country. Moreover, it will help coordinate the work of all ministries and organisations. Transit expansion activities will be undertaken with the neighbouring countries by protecting the interests of the country.”
He said that a committee has been formed so that all the ministries can work together to formulate the policy.
The committee consists of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Board of Revenue (NBR) and Bangladesh Land Port Authority.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh further said that a feasibility study on transit policy is being conducted by the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission. The committee will review all the issues and finalise the draft policy. Afterwards, the draft proposal will be placed in the cabinet meeting.
The transit policy is in regard to Bangladesh being able to use the land of a neighbouring country to import and export goods with a third country. Bangladesh will also offer similar benefits to other countries.
The government is working to expand transit and communication not only to South Asia but also to East Asian countries. The communication system is expected to expand via rail, road and waterways.
On June 15, 2015, a Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN-MVA) was signed between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal on using each other's land to transport goods and passengers.
However, the agreement was not implemented due to Bhutan's opposition. Most of the proposed routes in the policy facilitate transit through Bangladesh to neighbouring countries.
For the new policy, the Ministry of Commerce has taken the precept of the 'Bangladesh-India Joint Manifesto on Transit/Connectivity' during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India last year as a basis.