Alcohol crisis prompts inactive bonded warehouse to be active

A private diplomatic bonded warehouse based on Chattogram – Herbertsons Bangladesh, which has been inactive for years, now wants to resume operations to meet demand for alcohol.

The Herbertsons, the only private diplomatic bonded warehouse under the Chittagong Customs and Bond Commissionerate, were licensed in 1979, but this was not on National Board of Revenue (NBR) records because the company was not in business for a long time.

Currently, six Dhaka-based private bonded warehouses are operating, which has shut down the sale of alcohol for several months, resisting the use of the alcohol software that the tax administration has introduced targeting the digitization of bonded operations.

The Herbertsons want to make a comeback because the closure of the sale of six bonded warehouses has created an alcohol crisis in the market.

This warehouse has agreed to resume operations using software prescribed by the NBR, according to NBR officials.

The warehouse asked the NBR to set a cap of $ 20 lakh for the importation of bonded items, including alcohol.

Following the firm’s license renewal and award proposal, the NBR set up a committee to determine the justification for its request.

The committee visited the warehouse office and recommended that they be granted a cap of $ 14 lakh for the importation of bonded items. Of the total amount, a maximum of $ 8 lakh was recommended for importing alcohol, according to the committee’s report.

Currently, ship stores are operating in the port city to serve foreigners and ship crews.

According to the committee’s report, the total number of cabin crew is currently 26,600. The annual import requirements for alcoholic beverages stand at $ 5.3 million, while the cap on the total amount of imports for six ship stores for the 2021-22 fiscal year is approximately $ 2.4 million. In view of the vacuum, the NBR committee recommended that the setting of an import bar of $ 14 lakh for the Herbertsons warehouse be allowed.

However, NBR has yet to give its final say to the warehouse.

When contacted, a senior NBR official said on condition of anonymity that they were reviewing the necessary documents from the warehouse.

Meanwhile, the tax administration is trying to issue licenses to two public organizations, including the InterContinental Hotel and the Parjatan Corporation, in an attempt to break the alcohol syndication of the six existing private warehouses.

Joshua B. Speller