Automated systems installed in 24 customs officesASYCUDA World is a web-based customs management system that supports paperless cargo submission and processing.
The Department of Customs has installed automated systems at 24 border crossings in a bid to speed up customs clearance and control illegal trade.
The government started implementing the computerised customs management system known as ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) World as part of its customs reform programme.
ASYCUDA World is a web-based customs management system that supports paperless cargo submission and processing. Besides enabling customs agents, importers and exporters to submit their customs declaration electronically, the system allows clients to open bank accounts and make online payments.
Rameshwor Dangal, director general of the department, said the wide area network allows the department to effectively regulate customs offices where the system is implemented.
According to him, it takes an average of 18 hours for a consignment to receive customs clearance even after implementation of the ASYCUDA World. “We are trying to reduce the duration through construction of the necessary infrastructure,” said Dangal.
Customs officials are often blamed for taking bribes in order to provide faster clearance even for legitimate goods, an official said.
Traders have been complaining that slow customs clearance is one of the major reasons for having to pay detention charges. Besides, revenue leakage through the practice of under invoicing is rampant in imported goods, according to the department.
Dangal said they would be incorporating central risk management in the new system that categorises imported goods clearance under green, yellow and red channels. “The system allows the department to intervene immediately if any customs official is found to be involved in anomalies,” said Dangal.
In 2011, the government began installing the system at major customs points with the support of the Asian Development Bank. In the first phase, the ASYCUDA World system was installed at Mechi, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Krishnanagar, Nepalgunj, Kailali, Birgunj, Gaur and Tribhuvan International Airport customs in 2017-18.
“The process of installing the system at the Pashupatinagar Customs Office is at the final stage,” said Shishir Ghimir, spokesperson of the department.
There are 35 large customs offices in the country, including nine along the Nepal-China border and one at Tribhuvan International Airport. Ghimire said two Nepal-China bordering points in Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani have been equipped with the system.
Ghimire said the department is aiming to implement the system in other large customs offices in the current fiscal year. In addition to the main customs points, there are 103 sub-customs offices in the country.
According to the department, it has enforced ASYCUDA World as part of its four-year action plan for customs reform and modernisation. Through the strategy, the government has targeted to upgrade the facilities and systems at customs offices to international standards.
Dangal said the department has also prioritised construction of integrated check posts and inland container depots.
Currently, the integrated check post in Birgunj is in operation while the one in Biratnagar is at the final stage of construction. According to Dangal, the groundwork for integrated check posts in Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj is in the works while construction has already started at Rasuwagadhi.