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Few takers for Customs automation system

Senior official wants more importers to use ASYCUDA:

The use of the automated cargo clearance facility is at a low level, a senior Customs official said. “It is important to make maximum use of the ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) system introduced by the Sri Lanka Customs to enable electronic submission of customs clearance,” he said.

“We encourage the business community to use this facility when submitting Custom declarations, Sri Lanka Customs ICT Director Ajantha Dias told a seminar on e-Customs - Awareness on Trade Facilitation through Technology held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“There are over 50,000 registered importers in the country and only a small percentage use the automated system. The automation of Customs continued for the past three decades with an upgrading in 1999 and the system is moving towards the next stage. The Custom information is shared and exchanged with Inland Revenue, Department of Motor Vehicle Registration, The Treasury and Sri Lanka Standards Institute.

“It is necessary to become a 100 percent electronic submission system in the near future in keeping with the development in the world trade. The facility of Direct Trader Input (DTI) should be used for the advantage of the business community as it is a hassle free procurement procedure,” Dias said.

The system will avoid duplication of effort and high cost involved. However, it is necessary to avoid errors arising from the copying/keying process and delays due to work backlogs with data entry. The benefits of this system are many as the declarant with DTI access may prepare, check and print declarations and forward the same. It provides a quick service for clients with low cost, freedom to work outside of Customs normal hours of business, reduce travelling, delays and queues at Customs. The declarants have easy access to own declaration data held within the Customs computer.

Customs require the traders to prepare a document that fully describes their transactions. This declaration was originally prepared and processed as a paper document.

With the introduction of the electronic system, the details were then keyed into a computer.

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