HC issues rule on freight forwarding regulators

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The High Court has issued a rule on the licensing authorities to explain why renewal of fully foreign-owned freight forwarding companies in breach of the rules will not be declared ‘without lawful authority’ and ‘of no legal effect’.

The High Court bench comprising Justice Enayetur Rahim and Justice Mostafuzur Rahman issued the rule on Tuesday (Nov 12) upon hearing a writ petition filed by Manoj Sen Gupta, chairman of Awesome Network Limited.

The chairman of Customs Licensing Board at NBR headquarters, chairman of licensing board of Dhaka Customs House, and chairman of licensing board of Chittagong Customs House have been made respondents in the rule.

They have also been asked to explain why a direction shall not be passed on them to take necessary steps not to grant any renewal application of 100 percent foreign-owned entities.

The court asked them to reply to the rule within four weeks from the date of issuance of the order.

According to the petition, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) amended a 2008 SRO in 2015 by eliminating the provision of 100 percent foreign-owned companies in freight forwarding business in Bangladesh.

The amendment, however, allows forming joint venture companies with a provision of maximum 40 percent share to the foreigner, it says.

The petition says it was observed by the business community that the licensing authorities were renewing the licences of fully foreign-owned companies breaching the amended provision of SRO.

A few of the community people brought the matter to the notice of the NBR, which does not provide any remedy, promoting the petitioner to move the court.