Customs modernization to get $150-M WB loan
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has adopted a World Bank-proposed system aimed at modernizing processes at the country’s second biggest tax-collection agency through funding from the Washington-based lender.
In a statement Monday, the BOC said it was shifting to a fully automated customs processing system from the present electronic to mobile system as required under the proposed $150-million World Bank loan.
“This $150-million project is envisioned to support the BOC to reform and upgrade its systems, procedures and operational activities in order to improve transparency, accountability and predictability, streamlined and harmonized business processes in line with accepted international standards,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said.
The World Bank loan for the Philippine Customs Modernization Project will “transform the bureau into a world-class customs by streamlining and upgrading its operations and processes through information communications technology,” he said.
To implement this project, Guerrero on April 1 issued Customs Special Order No. 44-2019 to reconstitute the agency’s project management unit, which is tasked to administer, manage, plan and supervise the BOC modernization project.
“The modernization project is significant to the BOC in order to improve efficiency in customs administration. The bureau has to supplement, augment or enhance its present capabilities until we achieve world-class customs,” Guerrero’s chief of staff ,Teodoro M. Jumamil, was quoted by the BOC as saying.
According to World Bank documents, the proposed project “aims to support export-led economic growth by supporting the BOC to reduce trade costs, improve transparency and increase revenue collection.”
“The project will support the modernization of systems, procedures and operational activities in line with accepted international standards for the processing and clearance of imported and exported goods. This will be especially beneficial for traders from outside Manila (in effect, Visayas and Mindanao), which will be able to deal with customs without having to complete their processes at the capital. This, in turn, will increase the Philippines’ trade competitiveness, facilitating the growth and diversification of exports,” according to the World Bank.
To ensure correct valuation of imports entering the country’s ports, the BOC has also launched an online platform also designed to enhance revenue collection and prevent technical smuggling.
The agency said it piloted on April 8 in all ports nationwide the web-based National Value Verification System (NVVS), which would “determine and verify the accurate value of a commodity.”
Under this system, the data are presented based on all aggregate importations of commodities per Harmonized System Code, specific description and country of origin, the BOC said. “The NVVS will ensure that updated and correct valuation is being implemented in all ports nationwide. Hence, the system is also an effective tool in addressing the issue of benchmarking in the BOC through application of correct values of goods entering the ports,” it added.
Also, the BOC said the NVVS would allow assessment officers to verify if an importer declared the value that was similar to the price it actually paid or payable for the products when exported to the Philippines.
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