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World-class, high-tech Customs systems seen ready by 2024

/ 12:17 PM March 27, 2021
Carlos G. Dominguez III

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER File Photo

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Friday said world-class and high-tech Customs systems will be in place in the Philippines by 2024, thanks to a World Bank financing for the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) modernization project.

During the project’s virtual launch, Dominguez said reforms would transform the BOC into a world-class agency by streamlining and upgrading its systems and processes through information and communications technology.

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Dominguez said modernizing the BOC would enhance not only revenue collection but also trade facilitation.

“With the cooperation of relevant agencies and the support of the World Bank, we fully intend to complete this project in the shortest possible time. We expect the project’s partial operation by 2023 and full operation by 2024,” Dominguez said.

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The latest World Bank documents showed the project started procurement activities last December.

In October last year, the Washington-based multilateral lender green-lit its financing worth $88.28 million for the $104.38-million BOC project.

“When this project is done, we expect to see more efficient port operations, dramatic gains in reducing corruption in the agency and a major increase in our trade volumes. The project will allow us to be at the cutting edge in the application of new technologies to achieve the best revenue performance. All these will support the sustainable and long-term growth of our economy,” Dominguez added.

Dominguez said the project’s implementation was very timely as the new normal wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic magnified the importance of modernizing the country’s systems to thrive in the new digital economy.

“Now more than ever, we need more revenues to fund not only our COVID-19 response, but also our economic recovery program. A highly efficient BOC, therefore, is critical to help us recover strongly from this pandemic,” the finance chief said.

—Ben O. de Vera INQ
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