Importers and business community leaders have been opposing a recent attempt by the Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association (Baffa) to increase the Destination Service Charge by 75% per transaction.
Baffa on August 31 asked all of its members to increase the charge on each transaction from Tk2,000 to Tk3,500 with effect from September 1. However, it postponed the decision for three months the next day.
Mahabubul Alam, the president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told the Dhaka Tribune that a 75% raise was unacceptable, as Baffa had increased their service charge only three years ago.
“Moreover Baffa took the decision to increase service charges without any discussion with the stakeholders,” he said, adding business leaders would be willing to agree with a reasonable raise if the association took the decision in consultation with them.
Alam also said the hike in service charges would increase the expense of importers, which would ultimately be passed on to consumers.
Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury, the first vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Association, said the freight forwarders could not receive any charge from the importers as per the licensing rule as they were working as representatives of foreign agencies.
“However, we are paying charges to the freight forwarders considering different aspects,” he said.
“But the demand to increase charges by 75% is irrational and we will not accept it,” he added.
Khairul Alam Sujan, a director of Baffa, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had decided on the increase since the introduction of Automated System for Customs Data software had increased their costs significantly.
“Apart from that, almost all sorts of establishment costs have increased during the past three years,” he said.
Sujan, however, said Baffa would sit with the stakeholders and they were optimistic of finding a reasonable solution in this regard.