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World Bank interest to invest $170m for customs modernisation in Bangladesh

Promoting regional trade, investments - The World Bank (WB) has expressed interest to help the National Board of Revenue (NBR) modernise its customs procedure for promoting regional trade and investments, officials said on Tuesday.

The WB has assured Bangladesh of providing assistance worth US$170 million for upgrading the cross-border and regional trade facilitation works, said an official of the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

Meanwhile, the ERD, on behalf of the NBR, requested the Washington-based lender for bankrolling the customs modernisation project.

"We've requested the WB. It has responded positively. We are hopeful of discussing with the global lender soon to finalise the support," said the ERD official.
He added that they are hopeful of getting financial and technical supports from the WB shortly.

Bangladesh's customs modernisation is very crucial for trade facilitation by lowering trade cost, reducing trade time, and enhancing efficiency of supply chains.

The customs procedure here is very complex, as it takes a lot of documents and time before clearing any import or export product.

According to the UNESCAP-WB International Trade Cost data, the intra-regional trade costs of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal amount to 186 per cent tariff equivalent, which is the highest among the selected countries in other sub-regions of the Asia-Pacific region.

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