The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will provide utilisation declaration (UD) services digitally from January 16 (Saturday) to ensure transparency and efficiency in the process.
The apex apparel sector trade-body will not receive any manual UD submission from the day.
The BGMEA, in a circular on January 10, informed all its members about the latest move regarding digital processing of UD applications, including correction and fees, which will start from Jan 16.
According to industry insiders, the BGMEA provides a number of services to its 4,500 registered members.
The UD is a certification for determining how much inputs and packaging materials will be used by a factory in manufacturing exportable products.
UD service is very important, as it is given on daily basis, and the trade-body processes 1,000 applications every day on an average.
Currently, the BGMEA is providing the service manually, which requires lots of paper works and physical activities, they added.
When asked, Dr Rubana Huq, the BGMEA President, said: "The idea (behind automation) is to bring more efficiency and transparency. Commercial staff members (of various factories) need not come to the BGMEA, as e-signature is effective."
She also said her board started the project in January 2020, which has become fully automated from the last three months.
"We will not accept any manual UD submission from January 16," she noted.
Industry insiders said the automation move was taken in 2015 when it was not fully automated, but done through software. The inputs were later shared with the BGMEA and the government agencies concerned trough pen drives.
Subsequently, there were allegations of misusing the bonded warehouse facility by many of the apparel exporters through tempering UD certificates, issued manually.
The BGMEA officials were also allegedly engaged with corruption in the time of UD issuance, they added.
Once the automated service is launched, the exporters or export-oriented garment factories will be able to process UD through uploading their relevant documents from anywhere.
Besides, the applicants will be able to pay service charges through a trusted online payment system, according to the BGMEA officials.
The online system will help the trade-body to make the process paperless.
It will also perform auto consumption through artificial intelligence, while the software can be operated through mobile phone, they added.