Sunday, July 21, 2024

Customs waives demurrage, interest as technical glitch leads to clearance delays

With importers continuing to face challenges and glitches in navigating the new “upgraded and modern” Customs duty payment system introduced from April 1, the Finance Ministry on Thursday decided to waive demurrage as well as penal interest charges on delayed customs payments.   

In an order, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said its Directorate General of Systems is revamping integration mechanisms for data exchange, but a large number of cases have emerged of traders being unable to complete the process “because of unanticipated technical difficulties on the Common Portal and with the authorized banks”.   

Separately, customs formations have put in place special measures to expedite clearance of imports of perishable cargo, pharma goods that move in a cold chain, liquid bulk cargo as well as government consignments. 

On Monday, the CBIC had acknowledged “difficulties being faced by members of the trade in making duty payments over the customs automated system” and said its “technical teams are working overtime to fix some teething issues”. The problems being temporarily noticed would “be resolved at the earliest,” it had assured. 

“Importers have been facing challenges owing to system glitches linked to the electronic customs ledger and the government has taken cognisance of this,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner at KPMG. “Acceptance of bank confirmations for payment of duty would help clearance of urgent imports and address commercial concerns on delays,” he said.

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