NCE/SAC conducts seminar on Customs and SLPA automation

Monday, 30 July 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) and the Shippers Academy Colombo (SAC) conducted the third seminar in a series on Customs and SLPA automation this month, on post implementation on Customs and SLPA automation process.

The event was attended by Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, Sri Lanka Customs Director General Dr. Neville Goonewardena and officials from SLPA, SAGT, Tea Board, BOI and Bank of Ceylon.

The large gathering of industry participants were requested to register and start operating the new systems as it will be mandatory to do so very soon. BOI too introduced ASYCUDA system from 5 July onwards and facilitates all clients of BOI.

Dr. Wikrama said that SLPA had some problems at the start as many people were against automation but noted that they have managed to put things in order and would monitor the activities closely. He said that it would be a challenge to all to make an attitude change to accept change at the beginning.

Customs DG Dr. Neville Goonewardena said that it was one of his key responsibilities to automate Customs when he was appointed as DG in January 2012. He said that the Secretary to the Treasury was very keen that the Customs become more client-friendly and makes the needed reforms for automation using ASYCUDA as one of its key tools for trade facilitation.

The Sri Lanka Tea Board too can now issue online blend sheets whilst payments to Customs and SLPA can be done online. The authorities were confident that by the end of the year systems would be almost 90% automated. It was pointed out that the trade was slow to adapt to the new systems as they did not have proper understanding on the automation process.

Industry experts pointed out that they were happy there had been rapid progress at all the institutions over the last year and called for working together to achieve a paperless environment by 2013, so that the country can be looked as a competitive destination and market itself as a location that provides speedy solutions for traders at low cost. This would be a key element for hub activity.