All necessary licences and product inspection certificates for fish and seafood imports and exports will now be available online. It is expected that the initiative will make the import-export process of fish and fishery products in Bangladesh even more convenient and increase their acceptability in the global market, according to service providers.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim inaugurated the automation of the e-certification and laboratory information management service related to fish and animal product imports and exports in Dhaka on Wednesday. The inauguration was jointly organised by the Department of Fisheries and the Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project financed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
From now on, there will be no need to visit government offices in person for 20 licences and product test certificates required to facilitate international trade in fish and seafood products. The e-certification system will enable swift access to services such as licences, health certificates, additional health certificates as per the importing country’s requirements, import registration certificates, non-objection certificates, payment, sample collection, inspection, test reports and certificate issuance. Furthermore, it will be directly connected to customs, eliminating the need for time-consuming procedures when dealing with goods at ports, as informed by the authorities.
Addressing the function, SM Rezaul Karim stated that the digitisation of the e-certification and laboratory information management system in the Department of Fisheries marks the addition of a new chapter to Bangladesh’s fisheries sector. He emphasised that this is a step towards transforming Bangladesh into a smart nation.
He mentioned that this automation will play a crucial role in maintaining compliance with importing countries’ requirements in the import and export of fish and seafood products. He also highlighted the fact that it is a new initiative toward collaboration with the world and a move forward in unison.
Director General of the Department of Fisheries Kha Mahbubul Hoque stated that users of the service will always be able to see the status of various product inspections on a dashboard. This will lead to a reduction in both time and expenses associated with these processes. He mentioned that accepting paper applications for licensing will be stopped within the next one to two months.
Importers and exporters at the programme stated that due to the automation, both their time and expenses will be saved. Additionally, they mentioned that being able to provide health certificates for products based on international demand will increase the acceptability of their products in the international market, which will eventually contribute to boosting trade.
In fiscal year 2022-23, the export of frozen and live fish amounted to $422 million, which was a decrease from the $532 million recorded in the previous FY