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Online Customs Service
Institution: Ministry of Finance and Planning
Theme: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Implementation Date: Jan 01, 2003
Summary: The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) was developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 1981 for computerized customs management as part of an assistance programme to support improved compilation of trade statistics for its member States.

ASYCUDA was widely implemented and is currently being used by over eighty countries, including most Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) countries.

Until 2003, the complex system for the processing of imports, under the responsibility of Jamaica Customs, was a fertile ground for inconsistencies and lack of accountability and was subject to fraud.

It was primarily manual, with a paper-based system at its core. There was, therefore, an inability to reconcile the cash collected with the entries processed.

After having reviewed the ASYCUDA software package, the Government of Jamaica, unlike its CARICOM neighbours, took the decision to build its own computerized solution for customs management.

The task to design, develop and operate the new system was given to Fiscal Services Limited, a Government-owned information technology company.

The lack of linkage between cash collected and entries processed remained, however, even when the entries were keyed into the computer system.

On the foundation of the initial suites of the software for customs online services that were successfully implemented, a complex programme of administrative reform that affected both the organizational structure and the processes started.

As a consequence, a number of positive results were produced, including a significant increase in revenue collection.

Several international funding agencies have joined the Government in providing funding to add enhancements and to complete the customs modernization process in Jamaica.
Impact: Despite little or no economic growth in the country and although the number of transactions has remained constant or has experienced a slight downward trend, the revenues have increased.

The customs brokers have come to appreciate the convenience and increased speed of processing an entry. At present, over 98 per cent of entries are submitted electronically, with almost all of the brokers on board and online.

Customs overtime has been drastically reduced and can be completely eliminated once the customs reforms are fully implemented.

Customs supervisors are now better able to monitor and distribute the work flow, thereby achieving greater efficiency. Inconsistency and errors in duty calculation have been totally eliminated.

Changes to tariff rates and other fees are quickly and accurately accommodated. Reconciliation of payment is now provided on demand. Management and activity reports are all easily generated and made available through the implementation of data warehousing tools.

Collection points require fewer cashiers, yet long queues have been eliminated. The cashiers now have only to select the entry and collect payment, without entering large amounts of transaction details.

Electronic payments by either the customs broker or importing company have been welcomed and are becoming widely used.
Source: Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology
Project Home URL: http://www.fsl.org.jm/
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