Additional Collector, MCC Preventive, Karachi
The annual celebration of the International Customs Day on the 26th of January is an integral part of the culture of the Customs fraternity. This one day we celebrate together to recount our efforts and our achievements. Each year the World Customs Organization outlines a predominant theme to streamline the working of Customs to bring it more and more in line with international best practices. The year 2019 has been devoted to the theme Swift and Smooth Border Movement of Goods, People and Means of Transport with the slogan “SMART borders for Seamless trade, Travel and Transport”. “SMART” here abbreviating Secure, Measureable, Automated, Risk Management based technology driven.
Given the current socio- economic and geopolitical conditions, the world is going through, a more relevant theme could not have been outlined. SMART borders for seamless trade, travel and transport envisages a Customs world interconnected by innovation and technology and driven by conscious effort to facilitate and expedite procedures. It is in fact a two pronged strategy aimed at enhancing the World trade by adopting “SMART” measures and reengineering business process through technology.
Pakistan has already been navigated into this territory through its Pakistan National Single Window programme with an implementation timeline of five years with effect from February 2017. As a signatory to the W.T.O’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (2015), Pakistan has notified the establishment of National Single Window. Pakistan Customs has been designated as the lead agency in this regard. With its overarching objective of enhanced trade facilitation and efficient implementation of laws and regulations and coordinated border agency efforts, the PNSW programme comes directly under the umbrella of the International Customs slogan for 2019.
Current analysis reveals a lack of integration between private stakeholders and the government regulators as well as between the various government regulatory agencies. As a measures to rectify this disconnect, the Government of Pakistan envisages the development and implementation of a Port Community System (PCS) aimed at providing an electronic platform to enable intelligent and secure exchange of information between public and private sector forming part of the port community. The PCS shall be an integrated part of a wide vision of PNSW for creating and strengthening seamless, electronic linkages between all stakeholders. By ensuring the aforesaid, Pakistan Customs will be harnessing all its potential to move in line with the slogan of 2019 i.e. “SMART border for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”. [the_ad id=”31605″] To this end meetings are already being held between Pakistan Customs and Pakistan Customs Agent Association, Pakistan Freight Forwarders Association, Customs Clearing Agent Association, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, International Postal Service, Directorate General Pakistan Post, State Bank of Pakistan, PRAL, Pakistan International Container Terminal etc. More meetings are scheduled to bring to the table various ministries and regulatory bodies that monitor trade and standards, quantities and define specifications of quota.
With the amalgamation of the quintessential elements of the slogan for 2019 with the potential of NSW, Pakistan Customs envisages an altogether new and novel environment where the documents and formalities pertaining to Department of Plant Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Commerce, OGRA, etc are all uploaded electronically through an Electronic Data Interface which captures all the essential data and information like NOCs/Quotas etc. A little further development could take us to the single window where a passenger’s immigration & emigration information from the FIA can be directly visible to the officer / staff on the Sea Port dealing with his unaccompanied baggage or verifying his travel details thus connecting the Airport with the Sea Port and promoting swift and smooth cross border movement of goods and people.
Translating this on a global level would mean coordination and data sharing between countries for the purpose of secure and smooth trade and transport. [the_ad id=”31605″]