Rana Aftab Deputy Collector (R&D) MCC Appraisement (west), Karachi.
DATA ANALYSIS AND EFFECTIVE BORDER MANAGEMENT
The phenomenon of globalization has shrunk the modern world into a small village interconnected through modern tools of information technology. The significant growth of both trade in goods/services coupled with growth in international travel has put Customs organizations in a challenging position. The celebrations for this year’s International Customs Day is therefore aptly titled “Data analysis leading to effective border management”. The Customs community, unified under the umbrella of World Customs Organization, has always been a strong proponent of hassle free cross border movement of goods and passengers. The growth of multilateral trading environment in shape of regional economic blocks, preferential and free trade agreements has raised the stakes requiring greater electronic exchange of information amongst member states. The modern concept of trade facilitation and audit based controls have put a lot of emphasis on deploying modern data analysis that that can be utilized for efficient monitoring and supervision of the international supply chain as well as to meet the requirements of national legislation. However, the success of the same is heavily dependent on skilled management of huge database available to the government and/or customs organizations.
The threat of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, environmental challenges, transparency in international financial transactions and international narcotics- interdiction efforts have altered the risk environment for which development of a vibrant and effective risk management system is essential. This multidimensional role, in the changed scenario, demands positive, proactive and persistent efforts by customs to protect the modern societies in their respective territorial jurisdictions. Efficient capacity building, development in effective data management and analysis will enable Customs administration to improve performance in revenue collection, protection of local trade/industry and generally trade facilitation.
Pakistan Customs is proud of its excellence in the realm of automation and has the largest ICT footprint of any public sector organization. In line with international best practices as enshrined in the Revised Kyoto Convention and the SAFE framework, Pakistan Customs has deployed its own clearance application i.e WeBOC in 2012 which is presently operational at all major Customs stations. Furthermore, the selectivity criteria incorporated into the Risk Management System allows for profile constitution of all the traders and their performance. As a next step, the international community needs to accelerate adoption of business intelligence tools for predicting behavior of taxpayers and ultimately enhance mutual sharing of information for effective border management. Furthermore, along with facilitation, Pakistan Customs has remarkably performed in intercepting drug trafficking via ports, borders and airports and made huge seizures of Heroin, Cocaine, liquor, Hashish, acetic anhydride etc. The maintenance of a central database of all such seizures and persons involved and coordination with other national and international agencies engaged in drug interdiction will help in more effective measures regarding enforcement against drug smuggling. The need of the hour is to develop better coordination and sharing of information among all the stake holders and agencies for formulating effective strategies against the unscrupulous elements involved in drugs business.
Pakistan Customs is determined to fulfill its national and international obligations. The need of the hour is to make continuous efforts for modernizing of existing business processes and improving the interconnectivity with the internal and external stake holders both in the private/public sector. These coordinated efforts will lead to improved checks and balances in combating illicit flow of drugs, tax evasions, implementation of national and international legislations within the over-arching umbrella of trade facilitation.