Web-based system saves Customs millions
Significant revenue and savings are being realised by the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) since it introduced its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a web-based application that is expected to improve the agency's efficiency.
Chief Information Officer AndrÈ Williams said that the system has eliminated the use of paper, which has reduced the processing and waiting times at various stages and has resulted in cost saving.
"Based on the number of yearly transactions, where it concerns exports and commercial imports, there is a saving of $66 million per year just for the purchasing of forms," he said.
Williams also noted that since the pilot commenced in late 2014, "a total of 41,000 import and export transactions" have been processed, yielding $16.6 billion over that period.
"There is greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability on the part of our business partners as well as the JCA [because] there is an immediate electronic submission of the declaration and supporting documents," he said.
The chief information officer said that the ASYCUDA has allowed the JCA to share real-time data with Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and other agencies.
"The automated system has allowed us to achieve full integration with TAJ, where we are receiving real-time Tax Registration Number and Tax Compliance Certificate data," Williams said.
"We have also been transferring motor vehicle details to the automated motor vehicle system by TAJ, so once the vehicle has been cleared of all liabilities to the agency and to the port, that information is relayed in real time to TAJ for the registration of the vehicle," he added.
USED BY OTHER AGENCIES
The data from the ASYCUDA is also being used by the Island Traffic Authority to issue fitness certificates for motor vehicles, as well as by the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
In addition, once a licence, certificate, or permit has been issued by the Trade Board Limited, or other bodies, including the ministries of health and agriculture, the data that have been placed by them on their E-Trade System is automatically sent to the ASYCUDA, eliminating the need for a physical documentation and, therefore, allowing for the quick approval of declarations for processing.
Full implementation of the ASYCUDA is expected to be completed in March 2016. It is being funded by a US$4 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.