Rice loaded for export. — Photo vietnamplus.vn
HÀ NỘI — Many rice exporters were left surprised because the export quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice in April ended quickly in just three hours.
Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) issued a decision announcing the rice export quota for April after the Prime Minister gave the green light to resume exporting the product.
Rice exporters therefore required their staff to wait for the opening of the online customs portal to submit declaration forms. However, they were unable to access the system. Notably, the portal was opened at midnight on April 11 and by April 12 the quota was fully registered.
On April 13, Trung An Hi-tech Farming JSC in Mekong Delta Province of Cần Thơ sent a petition to the PM, the Government Office and the MoIT, saying that the opening of e-customs declaration software system has not been transparent.
The company said their staff waited to access the portal on Saturday, but it did not open. They did not receive prior notice at the website of the General Department of Customs on the opening for the rice export quota. The office suddenly opened the system and closed it only three hours later saying the 400,000-tonne export quota had been filled.
Phạm Thái Bình, the company’s general director said the General Department of Customs should give priorities to rice lots which are currently stuck at ports, then give new declarations for other exporters.
Bình wondered whether the declaration follows the PM’s instruction to ensure transparency and openness in implementing rice export quota.
Sharing the idea, Nguyễn Văn Đôn, Director of Việt Hưng Company Limited in the southern province of Tiền Giang said the opening of customs declarations in the middle of the night was extremely unfair. His company has one lot of 625 tonnes of rice packed in containers and two barges carrying over 1,500 tonnes of rice stuck in Nhơn Trạch Port.
Nguyễn Trung Kiên, vice chairman of Việt Nam Food Association (VFA) said many businesses had not been able to access the portal. They are collecting opinions to submit to the MoIT and General Department of Customs.
Responding to the issue, the General Director of Việt Nam Customs Nguyễn Văn Cẩn said the customs declaration system was completely automated, without the impact of customs officers and having no sign of profiteering.
He said the declaration is fully automatic, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of working hours.
According to Cẩn, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had also proposed MoIT and the Government to consider balancing the quantity as the amount of national reserve rice at the request of the Government has been facing a significant shortage.
The General Department of Customs also proposed that the Government should stipulate export quota for an enterprise to ensure fairness for all businesses.
He added that that the customs declaration system worked on a first come first serve basis. Those registering late would not be able to access the system.
There were around 40 exporters who successfully registered for the quota in April.
Enterprises will have to wait for a new evaluation from MoIT, which will be submitted to the PM to determine the new quota for May.
National rice reserves face shortage
The MoF’s General Department of State Reserve on Tuesday said it only bought 7,700 tonnes of rice in reserve, out of a total of 190,000 tonnes of national rice reserves in 2020 at the request of the PM.
Đỗ Việt Đức, general director of State Reserve said they also decided to cancel bidding of 17,000 tonnes as the bidders refused to sign and secure the performance of contracts.
For businesses cancelling bids, they must be handled under the Bidding Law and will have to re-bid to buy the required amount of rice.
He also said that the upcoming rice auction will be implemented in the shortest time within 10 days to buy enough rice according to regulations.
Earlier, the General Department of State Reserve said they had bid to buy 178,000 out of 190,000 tonnes of rice for reserves in 2020. However, there was a phenomenon that winning enterprises extended the contract period.
The rice buying was scheduled to complete before June 15. — VNS