Customs overhauling system

PAPUA New Guinea Customs is undertaking various reviews and reforms to improve its systems and process to facilitate trade and reduce the cost of doing business in the country, says chief commissioner David Towe. Towe told the Customs Business Consultative Forum last week that these involved modernising customs payment systems as well as reviewing some of its existing laws such as section 107 of the Customs Act for bank guarantees on temporary imports among others. He said partnership between PNG Customs and businesses was important in the review processes. The National’s business reporter DALE LUMA writes:

THE world economy is recovering from the impacts of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) shocks which has seen trade affected.
PNG Customs is now using this opportunity to see how best it can help the economy to rebound and grow.
Customs key role and mandate is to protect borders, facilitate international trade and travel, more so legitimate trade and travel, collect revenue for the State and provide an environment for business growth especially local manufacturing industry.

PNG Customs is modernising its systems and processes by embracing online data systems that reduces the cost of businesses and ensures limited interventions at the borders. – Picture supplied

Reforms, transformation and embracing a data ecosystem
Customs is a progressive agency, adopting world class standards that comes from its association and membership to the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
Its systems and process embraces the revised Kyoto convention on the harmonisation and simplification of Customs systems and procedures.
Under the Government’s Medium Term Revenue Strategy, it has embraced the strategy and is close to 98 per cent compliant with its key themes that demonstrates its modenisation in line with Government policies and meeting international standards.
Customs now has a very modenised data system called the Asycuda web-based platform for the lodgment of cargo manifests and customs declarations, collections of taxes as well as for collection and dissemination of trade data.
The system works 24 hours to limit the cost of doing business.
It is done in a way that businesses can lodge their declarations anytime of the day or night and be able to get their assessments and taxes paid as long as the system doesn’t target them as a potential non-compliant trader.
The data system ensures that trades and businesses that pose a risk to revenue and trade are targeted.
Some may get through cracks and loopholes however the system can identify and track non-compliant traders.
The ICT system allows for timely collection of revenue and collection of goods for those involved in imports and exports can collect goods on time with limited intervention at the borders by PNG Customs officers.
This also ensures that cost to businesses and consumers are minimised.
The data system also enables data sharing between relevant stakeholders for decision making.
PNG Customs is also conducting reforms in the cargo clearance procedures and process.
It is also looking at reviewing its section 107 which allows for temporary imports.
After the review, a bank guarantee will no longer be required.

PNG Customs is undergoing reforms to improve cargo clearance. – Picture supplied

Compliance has improved with PNG Customs collecting more revenue having exceeded its 2021 revenue projections.
It is committed to continue to do more compliance activities year.
Currently it is tracking well above 30 per cent from its revenue projects.

Partnership between Customs the business community and other stakeholders is very important to see how best to address issues of non-compliance as well as improving Customs mandated functions.
PNG Customs now wants to work closely with the business and private sector to address those issues affecting and impacting on operations.
Working closely is very vital as it continues business and economic growth as businesses operate in compliance with the law that PNG Customs administer to ensure that legitimate trade is facilitated and at the same time address issues of non-compliance, illicit trade and issues that impact the viability of entities to be profitable.