It took time to fix the import cost and to calculate the duty, traders said, alleging that the customs officials tried to raise the duty by fixing the import cost at a higher rate than usual.
Five Bangladeshi importers brought the chillies loaded in 10 trucks to the Benapole Land Port on Sunday morning.
The importers said that the customs officials wanted to calculate the duty by fixing the market rate at 70 cents per kilogram which was only 35 cents a week ago.
The two sides – the customs officials and the traders, after long deliberation – agreed at 40 cents per kg, a trader told the bdnews24.com.
The Customs then started to release the trucks after settling the dispute over fixing the market rate Monday afternoon when only two trucks were released. Two more trucks were released on Tuesday.
Clearing and Forwarding agent Ujjal Hossain said “the chillies have become unserviceable now due to hot weather.”
Benapole Customs Commissioner Shawkat Hossain denied the allegation of delay saying the trucks came after the office hours in the evening and it took ‘usual’ time to clear them with limited workforce.
“No extra time was spent,” he said.
About the allegation of raising the import rate, the customs official said “the commissioner has special powers to fix duty.”
Chilli prices suddenly shot up to Tk 250 to 280 per kg after Eid-ul-Azha which was more than double than the price before the festival. The price dropped on Monday to Tk 140 to 180 a kg.