Commissioner of Customs Satisfied with ASYCUDA

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese (left), discusses the phased implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), with Chief Information Officer at the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), Andre Williams.

Story Highlights

  • Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, says he is satisfied with the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA).
  • He said that already, persons are spending less time at warehouses or ports to clear shipments.
  • ASYCUDA is a web-based application that is expected to improve efficiency at the agency by integrating business processes into a digital platform.

Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, says he is satisfied with the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA).

“We have already implemented the export module and the import module for Sufferance Wharves [in Kingston]. We have also implemented the import module for personal shipments in Kingston and Montego Bay,” he told JIS News.

The Commissioner explained that using ASYCUDA for personal shipments allows for the “loading of information by consolidators. We will have that information in advance and when individuals come to clear their shipment, it will make the process even faster.”

He said that already, persons are spending less time at warehouses or ports to clear shipments.

In addition to personal shipments, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will be implementing the import module for commercial shipments, the incentive module as well as for permits and licences.

Pilot testing on the export module has also been completed and implemented, while testing is being done on the import module for private bonded warehouse for general merchandise and motor vehicles. The next phase of testing will be for free zones and commercial cargo.

 

“At the end of the implementation programme, all aspects of the customs operations will be fully automated and all payments will be electronic or by cash,” Major Reese said.

He pointed out that implementation of ASYCUDA “puts us [Jamaica] in the top 10 per cent in terms of customs administration globally.”

Major Reese said that while stakeholders have received adequate training in the use of the web-based system, engagement is ongoing and that where there have been issues, his agency has sought to address them.

However, he said that some stakeholders have been resistant to change. He added that in order to have efficient and smooth operations at  the agency, those stakeholders had to be blocked from using the old system, to ensure that they used the new platform.

In the future, Major Reese  said aspects of their operations may have to be legislated. “Going forward, we expect to legislate aspects of their operations requiring them also to be licensed, similar to customs brokers, because in many instances they ship goods in one name and the consignment is for more persons. If a breach occurs and it is not dealt with and finalized by that importer, all those persons who had their shipment consolidated have no recourse,” the Commissioner said.

In addition to the efficient processing of transactions, ASYCUDA will allow the JCA to provide accurate and real time data to the Ministry of Finance and Planning as well as Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).

ASYCUDA is a web-based application that is expected to improve efficiency at the agency by integrating business processes into a digital platform.

Use of the system is also expected to improve accountability, transparency and service delivery by reducing waiting time and cut costs, as paper intensive operations will be replaced with electronic transactions.

The system is being implemented with a US$4 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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