Importers sweat as ICEGATE payment spread keeps goods stuck in ports

It appears that the glitch in the ICEGATE payment gateway is hurting importers’ revenues with a double effect. The INR 3000-5000 crore worth of shipments stuck in ports across India not only incur high demurrage charges but also reduce EXIM revenue due to delays in reaching recipients.

Importers have claimed that the duty payment option in the ICEGATE system is still not working properly. High demurrage rates of around INR 500-700 crore have been paid by importers since last month.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently introduced a new payment module on April 1, 2023 and has identified technical glitches due to which Challans are not visible on the ICEGATE portal, resulting in non-payment of customs duties. CBIC said it was a “teething” and would be fixed soon, but even after more than a month, the issue has not been resolved satisfactorily.

It looks like the payment module introduced to make doing business easier has had the opposite effect. We tried to contact Chhaya Bohyar (Additional Director, ICEGATE, Government of India) for her views on the problem and the plans to solve the problem, but she could not be reached.

To alleviate the situation, customs authorities have started manually clearing goods to facilitate trade. In addition, customs officials are conducting pan-Indian interactions with trade to address concerns and issues related to IT system disruptions.

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