Customs management to get more efficient

Kathmandu, January 26

The Department of Customs (DoC) has launched the pilot phase programme of the fully web-based system for customs data processing and management while observing the 64th International Customs Day, in the Capital today.

Minister for Finance Bishnu Paudel launched the new system, which was introduced from the Mechi Customs Office. Henceforth, agents of the Mechi Customs Office will be able to process customs declaration forms, submit transit documents and provide details on transport document numbers, consignors and consignees, number and kind of packages, and quantities of goods, among others.

The web-based system introduced from Mechi Customs Office will gradually be implemented in other customs offices, which will shorten the time for customs clearance, according to DoC.

DoC also can monitor the assessment done by the customs offices via online system along with the implementation of the new system called ASYCUDAWorld. ASYCUDAWorld is a web-based software, which will link various government and private agencies dealing with customs offices. The move of DoC to introduce the latest version of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) software is aimed at providing impetus to customs administration reform and modernisation process, which began in 2003.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has deployed the most advanced version of software, which is known as ASYCUDAWorld, on customs management in the country.

Until now, all customs offices were using ASYCUDA++ software. This software works on various telecommunications networks, including GSM. However, it is not web-based and does not allow customs agents to handle transactions through the internet.

Minister Paudel also launched two other sub-systems — revenue exemption module and deposit management module. The revenue exemption module will keep a database of beneficiaries of revenue exemption that the government announces through Financial Act for certain purpose. Using the module, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) will be able to obtain real-time data of beneficiaries. If the government has exempted duty on the import of agricultural inputs for the promotion of agriculture mechanisation, the MoF will be able to get real-time data of beneficiaries and the exempted amount through revenue exemption module.

Similarly, the deposit management module introduced at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Customs Office will maintain digital database of goods brought in by passengers without making customs declaration. Such goods are deposited at the TIA Customs Office till the person clears the customs duty levied on the goods. The concerned person will get 60 days to clear the customs and take the goods from the Customs Office. Earlier, a manual-based system was in use while taking the deposit of such goods.

Deployment of the ASYCUDAWorld project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, is expected to enhance customs control capabilities like risk-assessment and make processes like accounting, post-clearance audit, and statistics and information management more robust.

The DoC has inaugurated the new systems in observance of International Customs Day as the World Customs Organisation has declared 2016 as the year of ‘Digital Customs’.