- Legislation aimed at implementing a new system to fast track the movement of goods through the ports was approved by the House of Representatives on September 23.
- The Customs (Amendment) Act was passed with two changes, and was piloted by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.
- Dr. Phillips explained that the Bill will facilitate the introduction of an electronic system for the submission of advanced cargo and passenger manifest information.
Legislation aimed at implementing a new system to fast track the movement of goods through the ports was approved by the House of Representatives on September 23.
The Customs (Amendment) Act was passed with two changes, and was piloted by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.
In his comments, Dr. Phillips explained that the Bill will facilitate the introduction of an electronic system for the submission of advanced cargo and passenger manifest information, to accommodate the implementation and use of an integrated custom management system at the Jamaica Customs Agency.
He also noted that the legislation will provide for matters connected with the administration and operation of the system.
The Minister pointed out that currently, Jamaica Customs is burdened by complicated bureaucratic procedures which involve the use of paper and paper records, adding that this has a negative effect on the efficiency of the operations of the organisation.
“Worldwide, the new mode of operations for customs is characterized by increasing demands for transparent, simple and efficient procedures, improved trade facilitation, strengthened border protection and compliance with international standards,” Dr. Phillips said.
He informed that Cabinet approved the implementation of an electronic communication system for dealing with customs matters, based on the latest version of ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data).
Dr. Phillips informed that ASYCUDA has been implemented in over 80 countries worldwide to facilitate the provision of a more reliable and efficient service to the public, government agencies, trade operators and other stakeholders.
“ASYCUDA World, which is the latest version of ASYCUDA, offers advanced technological features, such as interoperability, a user friendly interface and document workflow manageability,” the Finance Minister said.
He explained that in order to implement the new electronic system, substantial amendments had to be made to the Customs Act, as the law is outdated. He added that a more comprehensive review of the Act will be undertaken at a later date.
The ASYCUDA system is currently being implemented at a cost of US$4 million, and is expected to speed up operations at the ports by fully automating export and import transactions.
It allows for real-time updates on new tax regulations to minimize errors and delays in the computation of port taxes and also guarantees transparency, uniformity/standardization and consistency of Customs procedures. It is expected to significantly reduce the cost of importation and doing business, to local and foreign investors.
The system is being implemented over 24 months, from 2014 to 2016, with a pilot to begin in February 2015 and full roll-out in 2015/16.
The Bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.