Customs modernisation on track
Jamaica Customs says it is implementing new measures to streamline its business processes so as to reduce transaction and waiting time for customers.
"These customer-service initiatives not only speak to the service delivery provided by our staff, but also all our business processes and, of course, updating our information systems technology," said Major Richard Reese, CEO of Jamaica Customs.
According to Reese, the entity he leads has been striving to enhance its services in an effort "to establish a culture that exemplifies quality customer service and high maintenance of service standards".
Since receiving executive agency status in 2013, he noted that the entity has gone through a number of organisational changes in accordance with its long-term modernisation plan.
"We are doing very well both in terms of revenue and trade facilitation within the confines of the existing legislation. So, we are now in the process of amending the laws to facilitate better trade," the CEO said, adding that some of the laws had already been changed to support electronic transactions.
NEED TO LOOK ATSHIFTS
"Our regulations are to be amended to support the flexi-work week to look at shift systems, so we are continually in the mode of change and reviewing our business processes," he added.
Reese said the implementation of an authorised economic operator (AEO) programme, which came on stream last year, would enable a faster clearance of goods to approved importers by requiring no pre-clearance checks by Customs, apart from the non-intrusive X-ray of the cargo. The new addition, he said, would also improve the Customs-to-client relationship, customer service, and the business processes of Jamaica Customs.
"The stage we are at now is validation of those existing operators to ensure full compliance with the programme and also to admit new applicants. This, of course, saves the importer or exporter time and we recognise that time is money," Reese said.
"There is a strategic partnership that is developed between AEO operators and Customs, and ultimately, it is our intention to establish mutual agreements with other countries so that these benefits will also accrue to exporters when they are exporting to particular territories," he added.
Reese said preparations are also ongoing for the introduction of an automated system for Customs data, a single window for all Customs activities to make clearance at Customs much faster and to streamline all Customs processes through an online platform.
The web-based system will, among other things, support paperless-declaration processing through the use of electronic documents.
"The system will gradually be introduced at Customs offices on a phased basis, and, by December 2016, it will be at Customs stations islandwide," Reese said.