Upgraded computer system for Customs
Would permit online entries

Stabroek News
October 30, 2002

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The Customs & Trade Admi-nistration is currently upgrading its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and this is expected to make clearing of goods more efficient.

The upgrading of ASYCUDA, is being done by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), through its officers, Geoffrey Thorne, Regional Co-ordinator for ASYCUDA and Information Technology Advisor of the company, Fernando Siles.

Commissioner of Customs & Trade Administration, Lambert Marks told customs officers and employees of other agencies which have some relations with customs activities, in the Training Centre of Customs yesterday that among the benefits to be derived from the new system is that importers can actually prepare their entries by software and submit them online. Another benefit is that payments can be made to commercial banks without the importer/exporter/broker physically moving cash around. Linkages can also be set up with the shipping agents and the brokers, importers and exporters to receive messages that releases can be effected. And provision of trade data to the relevant stakeholder can be done on line.

The customs head noted that all of the benefits can be derived without anyone actually going to customs and interacting with officers on a one-to-one basis.

In the early 1990's the government took a decision to implement the original ASYCUDA system in the department.

He said that a project team was formed in 1994 and training got underway. Some of the tasks undertaken by the project team were; legislative changes were made to allow for the removal of some 14 customs forms; reference files were built; the tariff and the relevant duties/taxes files were built; and training for staff, the importers/exporters and brokers was conducted. The system commenced running at Customs Headquarters on April 1, 1996.

Thorne made it clear that the ASYCUDA ++ system was not intended to replace customs officers but rather to replace the drudgery of paperwork.

Further, Thorne said the system controls a wealth of information that will assist customs in revenue collecting.