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Air travellers to come under NBR scanner

  • Published at 03:34 am November 14th, 2017
Air travellers to come under NBR scanner
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken initiative to implement Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) to get information in advance on Bangladeshis flying in and out of country. A number of countries have this programme, under which the airlines have to provide information on their passengers to concerned authorities in advance. NBR has formed a nine-member team to implement the API and PNR. A NBR order issued on November 9 said revenue collection would be more transparent and dynamic once the API and PNR were implemented. Apart from that, the NBR said it believed the initiative would help maintain quality passenger services at the airport, combating local and international terrorism, control intrusion of unwanted passengers, prevent smuggling, reduce passenger harassment, and differentiate suspects from general passengers. Airlines Operation Committee (AOC) President Syed Ahmed Amin said the API and PNR systems were in place in a number of countries. “In many countries, passengers’ information has to be provided to various organisations. But it is implemented through an integrated process. The concerned agency can get information of any airlines from one place. “In Bangladesh, we provide the information manually if any agency wants but it will become easier if the process comes under an integrated system,” he said. NBR Second Secretary Md Riyadul Islam said once the API is implemented, it would be possible for the NBR to know when a passenger flying in from abroad would enter the country through which airport as soon the passenger book s a ticket. “We will get information on passengers, such as their addresses and their purposes for travelling in or out of the country in advance,” he said. Airport sources said several meetings had been held among the Civil Aviation, immigration police, customs house and police over a long period of time for getting information in advance on air travellers. But it could not be implemented. At present the airlines provide information manually to immigration police when the latter seek information on any passenger. The integrated system could not be implemented for lack of coordination among various departments. Recently, the Customs Intelligence and Dhaka Customs house informed the NBR to implement API and PNR to combat smuggling and terrorism. NBR sources said its first secretary would be the coordinator of the nine-member committee to implement API and PNR. Other members of the body are Chittagong Customs House deputy commissioner or someone above that rank; Dhaka Customs House deputy commissioner or someone above that rank; CIID deputy director or someone above that rank; NBR’s second secretary; Sylhet Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate; and AOC president or general secretary. They have been asked to nominate representatives of concerned departments and send the list within five business days. According to the order, the committee will formulate API and PNR related law and rules, work strategy and work plan, and recommend research and follow up of the system in developed countries. Apart from that, it will undertake work with concerned development partners in coordination with the revenue modernisation section, create training module for field level officials and train them, preparing draft organogram for formulating API and PNR units at every airport and fixing the units’ workspace. This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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