This year’s International Customs Day signals the onset of the World Customs Organization (WCO)’s year of “Data Analysis” with the slogan “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management”. Data Analysis is an important element in the Customs modernization process, aimed towards achieving efficient service delivery, eradicating corruption and securing revenue through effective controls at international borders.
It is indeed encouraging that Pakistan Customs has already made significant headway towards automation of clearance processes. With the launch of the automated Cargo Clearance System (WeBOC) across Pakistan, not only has dwell time for cargo clearance reduced considerably with a corresponding fall in the cost of doing business, but customs authorities now have access to a more reliable database. This voluminous data is, however, useful only if it is handled effectively for targeted risk management, enhanced performance measurement of customs officials as well as for research. Data analysis can, thus, play an essential role in the core Customs’ objectives of revenue collection, border security and trade facilitation through improved predictability and transparency in Customs operations. Establishment of the envisaged Electronic Data Interface with Afghanistan and China would place further data at the disposal of Pakistan Customs for analysis and comparison.
In today’s world of rapid globalization, the international trade scenario has changed drastically, demanding not only dialogue between international jurisdictions but also sustainable partnerships with the business community. All this is achievable only if comprehensive data analysis becomes a regular feature of our Customs administration. I hope, therefore, that Pakistan Customs and FBR continue on the path to reforms and modernization for more effective enforcement of border controls without compromising on trade facilitation.
Finally, I would like to congratulate all the officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on International Customs Day!