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Delay in faceless assessment of imports causing disruption in smooth flow of cargo

Faceless assessment of cargo
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The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) with an aim to enhance ease of doing business and increase operational efficiency recently rolled out faceless assessment of imports across the country. However, a delay in assessment of imported material is being observed which is causing cargo to pile up at air cargo and inland container depots, informs the customs brokers and importers.

As a result, the overall cost of cargo handling is going up as warehousing charges keep adding up until it is cleared. Furthermore, businesses are also getting affected as due to the shortage of raw materials, manufacturing is unable to run smoothly.

To address the same, a representation on the matter was recently made before the CBIC and the Union Government by the city-based Federation of Custom Brokers’ Associations.

“Examination orders for 100% of imports are raised, unlike earlier. Now queries about labelling are also raised which take time to clear. Moreover, there is no proper method or guidance for bills of entry or reassessment. Due to this and various other reasons, import clearance takes between four and nine days,” the representation says.

“The system, even though it is aimed at making things simpler, has only made them more complicated, time-consuming and expensive. This is not adding to the ease of doing business because clearance of imports has slowed down as clearance of imported goods is causing a pile up,” said Girish Shah, an Ahmedabad-based customs broker.

“Closure of queries raised by customs officials takes time to get cleared and this is leading to piling up of cargo,” Shah added.

At present due to the underlying issue the manufacturers who barely were making a come back after the pandemic caused disruptions are being adversely affected as their imports are stuck. And, their operating cost is also increasing as they are forced to pay warehousing charges because customs have not cleared the imports.

Last month, the CBIC announced to roll out pan-India faceless assessment for all imported goods by October 31. The faceless assessment for import of certain goods has already been rolled out in Bengaluru and Chennai ports on June 8, it was extended to Delhi and Mumbai Customs on August 3. Now in phase manner this will be extended to all ports across the country by December 31.

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