Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Like the rest of the world, Pakistan celebrates the International Customs Day on 26th January every year to highlight the contribution made by customs authorities towards maintaining the security and integrity of the transnational movement of goods as well as safeguarding the economic interests of their countries.
This is, indeed, a day to appreciate the performance of Pakistan Customs in establishing the writ of national and international laws relating to cross-border trade, controlling illicit trafficking, facilitating economic integration, and collecting revenue for the exchequer. But this is also a day for self-analysis – an occasion to evaluate the performance of Pakistan’s customs authorities against global standards and benchmarks, and assess how best to improve outcomes in terms of transparency, facilitation, and creation of a conducive environment for entrepreneurial initiative. From this vantage point, this year’s theme, Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement is certainly very pertinent. Pakistan is already working on these lines, and an automated cargo clearance system, WeBOC, is taking care of more than ninety percent of shipments into and out of Pakistan. An electronic interface between the agency and client would certainly improve the efficiency and quality of service delivery by Pakistan Customs.
I congratulate Pakistan Customs and the Federal Board of Revenue on the progress made so far. I am confident that they would continue to make all possible efforts to introduce the latest technology and international best practices within the shortest possible time both to enhance performance and to provide an enabling institutional structure to promote and sustain rapid expansion in Pakistan’s international trade and commerce.
Mohammad Ishaq Dar Minister For Finance & Revenue
This year’s International Customs Day heralds the launch of the World Customs Organization (WCO)’s year of “Digital Customs” with the slogan “Progressive Engagement”. Digital Customs symbolizes an electronic activity that contributes to the effectiveness, efficiency, and coordination of Customs activities. The government is cognizant that “Digital Customs” is the way to achieve efficient service delivery, eradicate corruption and secure government’s revenue through effective controls at the international borders.
It is heartening that Pakistan Customs has made significant progress in digital innovation. Roll out of automated Cargo Clearance System (WeBOC) across Pakistan has considerably reduced dwell time for cargo clearance and has helped reduce cost of doing business. Similarly operationalization of automated risk management system has improved predictability and transparency in Customs operations. Establishment of the Electronic Data Interface with Afghanistan and China will further expand our economic ties with our neighbouring countries.
It cannot be over emphasized that the rapid pace of globalization in recent years has reshaped international trade scenario; it demands not only frequent dialogue between jurisdictions, but nurturing sustainable partnership with the business community. The connectivity approach prompted customs administrations around the global to increase collaboration with trade and industry. I hope that Pakistan Customs and FBR will continue on the path of reforms and modernization.
I would like to extend my felicitations to all the officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on International Customs Day!
Nisar Muhammad Chairman Federal Board of Revenue
Together with all other Customs Administration of the World, Pakistan Customs is also celebrating International Customs Day on 26th January, 2016. I extend my warm felicitations to all officers and officials of Customs on this special day. The World Customs Organization has chosen the theme of “Digital Customs” with the slogan “Progressive Engagement”, for this year aiming at promoting coordination among all agencies and authorities responsible for cross border movement of goods and people. I am pleased to note that the International Customs Day this year finds Pakistan Customs better prepared than ever to face the security challenges to global supply chain through efficient and effective use of Information and Communication Technology.
The pace of globalization in recent years has reshaped international trade scenario which now demands constant information exchange, not only amongst jurisdictions, but also with the business community. Customs organizations around the world are committed to follow a coordinated approach and increased cooperation. There is a need to cope with the changing developments in international trade through a well-planned strategy for enhancing skilled human resource, establishing modern cargo clearance system, besides putting in place robust systems for information exchange for effective enforcement and deterrence against illicit trade.
While felicitating the officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on this auspicious occasion, I expect them to strive further for aligning themselves with the International best practices.
Nasir Masroor Ahmad Member (Customs) FBR
Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is transforming many aspects of world’s economies, governments and societies. The inherent potential of modern ICT have grown exponentially because of continuous development in cyber-physical systems, data processing and human-machine interface. Developing countries, in particular, have a lot to benefit from these advancements. Many developing nations are making the most of ICT advantage to modernize institution, both public & private, for efficient service delivery and catalyze economic development. Pakistan and too has its own success story to tell.
On the occasion of International Customs Day, celebrated all over the world by customs fraternity on 26th January, Pakistan Customs finds many reasons to rejoice, particularly when it can well relate to this year’s theme i.e. ‘Digital Customs’. The present stage of Pakistan Customs automation took years of sustained efforts and meticulous adherence to the roadmap for achieving Digital Customs outlined in WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention. Pakistan Customs merits commandment on successful launch and country-wide roll-out of indigenously developed WeBOC (Web Based One Customs) software for automated clearance of import, export and transit cargo.
To make good use of the occasion, I would also like to thank a host of International Development Partners in Particular the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USID, JICA, UNODC, DFID, GIZ, IFC, etc. who have stood shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan Customs, in actualizing the spirit of current International Customs Day i.e. ‘Progressive Engagement’. Without the technical and material support of development partners, it would have been difficult for us to attain the present level of advancement.
In the end, I would like to congratulate all officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on this special day and hope that the department will continue its resolve to achieve revenue targets, facilitate international trade and passenger traffic besides effective interdiction of illicit trafficking.
Pakistan Customs celebrating World Customs Day
Pakistan Customs along with the rest of the world is celebrating World Customs Day on January 26, 2016. This year’s theme is “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement”.
Pakistan Customs has been making rapid progress on the automation and digitization front as well as governance and enforcement was been improved significantly.
Leadership is the most important thing, which guarantees efficiency, and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) aware of this phenomenon has posted competent, disciplined and honest officers to lead the formations.
It goes without saying the move has delivered, which is reflected in revenue collection growth as well as reduction in revenue leakage whether it be smuggling, under-invoicing, mis-declaration and other scam. Customs has been quite hard against smuggling lately and the menace been reduced to a minimum. In the last three years, FBR has been a vibrant organization introducing and implementing unprecedented reforms. The most important measure was the rationalization of tariff and reduction of SRO regime as these concessionary SROs were only benefitting a handful of individuals in the cost of national revenue.
M/s Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) set up on developing Web Based One Custom (WeBOC) from 2009, which finally replaced the PaCCS at KICT, PICT and QICT in 2011. After its successful takeover of all the operations under PaCCS it was soon vibrantly rolled out to all Pakistan and at present it has now taken over all operation under PACCS and also that of One Customs except for a very small segment which is operating under One Customs which will be replaced by We BOC in coming months.
WeBOC system connected with the banks through State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and this would provide a check on movement of money.
Corruption is always on the rise in a country like Pakistan and the prime reason of corruption in various departments is lower salaries and absence of perks and facilities, that compel even the honest officials to wrongdoings. Moreover rewards and incentive mechanism in place has been shelved which serves as discouragement.
There is a need to eliminate disparity between government and private sector remuneration packages, which would most importantly lift the morale of employees. Meanwhile, a continuous process of accountability is equally important.
Although, things are going in a right direction now in Federal Board of Revenue because of the vision of the Board, but masses are not mistaken in fearing that these good days may be short lived unless the system is developed.
ASSISTANT TO THE PM ON REVENUE
Pakistan Customs being a member of the international Customs fraternity is celebrating International Customs day on 26th January, 2016. It’s an occasion to demonstrate the efforts and achievements of the Customs administration in realization of government revenues, facilitation of international trade, as well as, enforcing the controls at the international borders to safeguard the society from the inflow of illicit and dangerous goods.
In order to underscore the critical need of automation and connectivity in enforcing controls and extending facilitation to international trade, World Customs Organization (WCO) has chosen the theme of “Digital Customs”, with the slogan of “Progressive Engagement”, for this year’s Customs Day. Since Customs administrations around the world interact with the global supply chains, it becomes imperative to adopt best international practices for ensuring smooth and seamless movement of goods across borders. This is possible only through automated Customs processes. Pakistan Customs has invested considerable resources in bridging the digital gap. A fine example of the efforts made by Pakistan Customs is the indigenously developed system of Customs clearances known as WeBOC and I am glad to say that it is able to process more than 97% of trade, import, export or transit crossing Pakistan’s borders,.
A Customs administration must aim to strike a delicate balance between trade facilitation and Customs controls. The digitization of Customs procedures is perhaps the only way to achieve this fine balance. I hope that Pakistan Customs will continue to follow the path of modernization and trade facilitation.
In the end, I extend my warm felicitations to the officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on this auspicious International Customs Day.
Effective engagement, information exchange a must for Customs
World Customs community is celebrating the “International Customs Day” on January 26, 2016. Basic purpose is to highlight the role of Customs in ameliorating lives of general public globally through opening up economies and connecting world trade through modern techniques.
In Pakistan too, Customs plays a pivotal role in economic development through efficient targeted controls and the facilitation of legitimate trade. The year 2016 is dedicated to promoting the digitalization of Customs processes under the slogan “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement”.
The term Digital Customs refers to any automated or electronic activity that contributes to the effectiveness, efficiency, and coordination of Customs activities, such as, automated Customs clearance systems, the Single Window concept, electronic exchange of information, websites to communicate information and promote transparency, and the use of smart phones.
Pakistan Customs deserves special appreciation on the introduction and successful countrywide rollout of indigenously developed new software WeBOC (Web Based One Customs) for automated clearance. The department is moving on the path of modernization and intends employing sophisticated equipment at border stations, airports and seaports going forward.
I take the opportunity to state that in an era of declining resources and increasing volumes of trade and travel, effective engagement and information exchange with all allied agencies and partners is a necessity for customs. The Customs clearance system, WeBOC, connects all internal and external users through electronic interface. It has the potential to become the lead system, which connects all border agencies for data and information sharing so that the trader could enjoy a one-window facility making custom and border clearance much more facilitative, easy and faster for all businesses.
Such positive outcomes will contribute significantly towards the realization of Customs’ objectives, including improved revenue collection, border security, the collection of trade statistic, and trade facilitation.
I also would like to congratulate all officers and officials of Pakistan Customs on this special day of global importance and hope that the department will continue its commitment in achieving revenue targets, facilitation of trade and passenger traffic, besides demonstrating efficiency to counter trafficking of drugs and smuggling of contrabands.
The use of improved IT technologies has positively impacted the customs landscape through improved compliance by the stakeholders, faster clearance time, better and informed communication amongst the customs units and organizations, increased transparency in the application of regulatory laws and procedures and enhanced monitoring of the customs processes and officials by the customs administrations.
It has also helped in detection of irregularities and building up a comprehensive database for trade analysis. Although, Pakistan Customs has already progressed towards the implementation of digital customs but still there is a need to extend the digitalization of customs to all such areas and spheres, which are still out of its ambit so that Pakistan Customs could tread on the path of progressive engagement of all the key elements towards achieving its ultimate goal of efficiency, control and revenue collection.
I also would like to congratulate all officers and officials of Pakistan customs on this special day of global importance and hope that the department will continue its commitment in achieving revenue targets, facilitating trade and passenger traffic, besides demonstrating efficiency to counter trafficking of drugs and smuggling of contrabands.
It is indeed a matter of immense pleasure and honor to address this august forum on this International Customs Day when the world Customs Community is celebrating its annual day. This year the world Customs Organization has decided to dedicate the year 2016 for promoting the digitalization of customs processes under the theme “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement” .
Customs, all over the world, is amongst the premier agencies, which plays a remittal role in the economic development and trade facilitation through the cautions exercise of relief and control measures. Its role can promote or impede the inward and outward trade flows. The era of globalization calls for opening up of economics through international and regional cooperation amongst the WCO member countries for promotion of world trade by adopting the modern day technologies. It is where the Customs Day theme becomes more relevant.
Pakistan Customs enters digital era
In order to facilitate the competitiveness of country’s exports in the international market, the Government of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue, as a matter of policy, have ensured that various export facilitation regimes, ensuring zero-rating of exports, remain available to the exporters. For this, FBR has taken various initiatives for removal of obstacles in expansion and facilitation of exports and has provided various facilitation regimes having exemption on duties and taxes which remain available to the bona fide exporters of Pakistan. Such exemption schemes, which currently exist, give a wide range of choice to the exporters, which they can avail depending upon the nature of their business and convenience. These regimes targets export areas like textiles, leather, sports & surgical goods, carpets, footwear, engineering goods and metal products, etc. The major schemes include:-
- Duty Drawback Scheme (DDB).
- Duty and Tax Remission (DTRE) Scheme.
- Manufacturing Bonds.
- Export Processing Zones (EPZs).
- Temporary Importation Scheme (EOUs).
- Digital processing for issuance of the Certificates of Origin and the procedure for Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) has been designed by FBR and is actively pursuing its early implementation with major import/export partners of Pakistan. This would definitely give a strong impetuous to the country’s exports and reduce their dwelling time. Exports consignments are not subjected to 100% physical examination at the port of exit and the web based management system (WeBoc) selects the export consignments for examination on the basis of risk profiling. Pakistan Customs is geared up and is aptly using the digital processing for its effective and progressive engagement in all spheres of export related business processes.
MCC GWADAR: FUTURE PREMIER COLLECTORATE OF PAKISTAN
Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Gwadar is poised to become premier Customs Collectorate of Pakistan for the purpose of promoting the economy of Pakistan, facilitating the legitimate trade, a comprehensive digitalization of Customs processes and documentation, stopping the illegal cross border trade, protecting the community and environment, maintaining public health and fulfilling international obligations.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be a game changer in Pakistan. Gwadar Port and Economic Zones in Gwadar will take pivotal position in this corridor and Gwadar Port will rise as a state of the art Port of Pakistan in near future. Efforts are underway to link Gwadar port and three land Customs Stations- Panjgur, Mand and BP-250- on the Pak-Iran border to the WeBOC system to facilitate the legitimate trade and reduce the dwell time of goods at the port and the land Customs Stations.
MCC Gwadar is a big Collectorate having jurisdiction that spread over more than 88,000 sq.km area of Pakistan and 640 km of coastline. Most part of the area is barren and industrialization is negligible. This large area situated in the sparsely populated Balochistan province of Pakistan is vulnerable to smuggling of non-duty paid and contraband items from the neighboring countries.
Smuggling and illegitimate trade cannot be stopped by the law enforcement agencies only. Pakistan police smuggling through federal and local agencies including Pakistan Customs, FC, Coast Guard, Police, Levies etc. Smuggling and tax evasion take place when Customs Tariff rates are high, demand of the contraband or restricted items like narcotics, weapons etc is strong, black economy is rampant, job opportunities are low and documentation and digitalization of the economy is not in place.
Though Government will have to initiate a reforms process in all these areas to encourage legitimate trade and discourage illegitimate cross border trade, most of these evils could be removed by the documentation of the economy through digitalization. This is the reason Pakistan Customs became a pioneer institution in introducing digitalization in its processes in Pakistan. At most of Customs Stations/Ports end to end Customs solutions have been provided to ensure transparency and save time of the business entities. To guard against under-valuation an important step was being taken by connecting online exporting countries to Pakistan Customs. It may enhance revenues of Pakistan Customs significantly.
MCC Gwadar has also chalked out a very effective anti-smuggling strategy to foil smuggling attempts in the area. The jurisdiction of this Collectorate has been divided into four zones- each headed by an Assistant Collector/Deputy Collector. All the law enforcement agencies like FC, Cost Guard, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Local Police, Levies etc have also been engaged in the anti-smuggling operations. Cooperation of FC has particularly been tremendous in controlling the smuggling of diesel from Iran.
This strategy of the Collectorate is bearing fruits and the anti smuggling operations have resulted in seizure of 1,977,000 liters of High Speed Diesel (HSD). 1388 kgs of hashish (charas), 16158 bottles of liquor and beer and 47 vehicles apart from seizures of miscellaneous items valuing about Rs. 470 million during the period from July 01, 2015 to January 20, 2016 have been seized. Out of this, a large quantity of HSD has been seized from the dumping places at Hub and Uthal. Efficient Customs administration at the land Customs stations and the port have also increased collection of Customs duties by more than 100% during the current financial year in comparison with the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
In future this Collectorate will have its Marine Section equipped with modern patrol and combat boats at Sonmiani, Ormara, Jiwani, Pasni, Pishukan and Gwadar. Feasibility of opening a few more land Customs Stations at Pak-Iran border are also under way to handle increased trade with Iran in the wake of lifting of sanctions from Iran.
Pakistan Customs and MCC Gwadar will continue to striving to contribute to the economic development of Pakistan and maintain a proper balance between control and trade facilitation to ensure transparency and speedy flow of legitimate cargoes at the entry and exit points.
(This article has been written by Saeed Akram, Collector of Customs, MCC Gwadar)
The Dividends of Automation
The development of paperless customs systems is seen as the crucial starting point for any country to influence the growth of e-commerce and thereby improve economic performance. The spread of ICT is an opportunity for custom administrations to strengthen their positions as the vanguard of strategic developments in all countries.
International Trade Organizations (ITOs) have also emphasized the pivotal role of Customs in the creation and fostering of a global e-commerce system. Customs organizations have a significant international footprint as they are essential in regulating the trade supply chain, ensuring its security, all in the presence of a risk-based strategy that encompasses minimal physical / intrusive controls.
This approach materially reduces the cost of doing business and also acts to catalyze other national agencies to follow in its foot-steps i.e. whatever Customs decides, tends to set the standard for others to follow.
Customs administrations’ vital and fundamental significance in the 21st Century is highlighted in documents of the World Custom Organization namely; “The Revised Kyoto Convention” and “The SAFE Framework of Standards” and the World Trade Organization’s “Trade Facilitation Agreement” (Bali, 2013).
Importantly international organizations such as the World Customs Organization will have to increase their efforts to bridge the digital divide by coordinating modernization and capacity-building activities in the customs domain with other international organizations active in this field.
Pakistani Perspective: In 2011, Pakistan Customs switched to an indigenously developed, web-enabled clearance platform namely Web-based One Customs (WeBOC) whose footprint and scope are considerably broader than its predecessor technologies. It is based on international best practices and provides real time integration of all stakeholders in the clearance process e.g. clearing agents, traders, terminal operators, cargo handlers, shipping agents, bonded carriers, warehouses, airlines and customs officials.
It allows for 24/7 electronic filing, simplified paperless procedures, end-to-end integration, risk-based clearances, minimum dwell-time, better controls and minimal interaction between traders and Customs authorities. By expeditiously clearing cargo in a transparent manner, it helps in reducing the cost of doing business.
Essentially the system has brought about uniformity in customs clearances across the country. A number of joint initiatives are underway: electronic Form-E Issuance (in collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan) has allowed for tremendous improvement in the monitoring of export credentials & Foreign Exchange remittances, Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) between China and Pakistan and EDI with airlines to receive cargo and passenger manifests using IATA-Cargo XML and API standards respectively (MOU with IATA has been signed on 17th August).
Another important area that is being focused upon is acquisition of Business Intelligence tools that are required for providing support to all tiers of custom management for analysis of clearance data.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (FTA) aimed at improving customs cooperation, contains unique special and differential treatment (SDT) measures that link implementation requirements with the capacity of individual countries. The Agreement also recognizes the need for donor members to enhance assistance and support for capacity building. The Agreement will enter into force when it has been ratified by two thirds of the WTO Membership.
However, the SDT provisions allow each developing country to determine when they will implement each of the individual provisions as well as those provisions for which they will need technical assistance and support for capacity building in order to implement.
The arrival point for all aforementioned development initiatives would be the National Single Window (NSW), which would allow for lodging of standardized information and documents with a single entry point, sharing of all information within a legal framework, relevant information and addition of facilities to provide trade related government information, and receive payment of duties /other charges.
The concept examines regulatory controls through the eyes of the trader and views all interactions between trade and regulatory agencies without regard for any jurisdictional limitation within government. The approach simply unifies the interface between government and the trade (Business to Government (B2G) and Government to Government (G2G) facility.
This additional software layer will ensure compliance with the international standards as mentioned in the Trade Facilitation Agreement under the multilateral framework of World Trade Organization. The development and implementation of national single window will depend upon the political support and availability of resources including necessary human resource under the framework of a small, separate and agile IT company for customs automation in view of international best practices.
Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi
Director (Reform & Automation-WeBOC)
Federal Board of Revenue
WeBOC, emerges real time integration hub for importers, exporters, Customs, bank, airlines, shipping lines, all stakeholders
The Pakistan Customs administration firmly believes that the ‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future’. Thus innovation and simplification in the Customs clearance system has always been the objective to offer maximum facilitation to the trade.
All import and export of goods in Pakistan is governed by Pakistan Customs Act 1969. In past days custom clearance of all consignments was carried out manually on documents and papers. For Import Bill of Entry (BE) was filed and for export Shipping Bill (SB) was filed. Every stage of the process went on manually where the customs agent would carry B/E and S/B documents physically getting the documents processed through the Custom Formation/staff and obtaining signatures and endorsements of several functionaries. Keeping with the international dimension of customs it was always focus of the International organizations like World Customs Organization to achieve uniformity in customs procedures to facilitate international trade so that trade data could be integrated into one and the global trade flow could be increased and accelerated. Therefore digitalization was the only answer to convert manual processing into cyber processing. It was in this context that in 1982 the first ever computer automation was initiated into customs department; it was called ‘Appraiser Guidance System Statistical Report System Batch Data Entry System’. But this was only to keep the import clearance data on computer for statistical purpose and to serve as guiding/reference pool for the customs appraisement staff. Subsequently the direct role of computer processing was brought in partially in 1992 through ‘On-line Transaction Processing System (OLTP)’ but this only translated some manual steps onto computer during the processing of the clearance such as registration of Import Documents like B E/Shipping Bill and allotment of a Machine Number and feeding of some data from the documents already processed manually by Customs. It was thus only a limited automation and that was too extent of imports within certain sections of Karachi Customs House.
The substantial shift came only with ‘One Custom Clearance System’ introduced in 2004 in which nearly complete process of the import and export documents was brought on computer but again it was a parallel process side by side with the manual process . It took place in a manner in which documents were processed manually with signatures as usual. however at every stage it’s feeding on the computer modules was necessary without which next process could not be started. In the meantime in 2005 a fully Automated system with name Pakistan Automated Computer Clearance System (PaCCS) was also introduced in selected parts of Karachi Customs House and Port Qasim as part of Customs Administrative Reforms (CARE) at Karachi International Custom Terminal (KICT), Pakistan International Custom Terminal (PICT) and Qasim International Custom Terminal (QICT) which were the main terminals for sea ports in Karachi. The declarations were filed by the Importers, exporters and the customs Agents through their own computers from the offices and then the whole processing at all stages took place on computers. This was a revolutionary development as it immediately reduced the dwell time of the consignments changing from weeks and days to hours and minutes. This system reduced huge number of steps on manual processing to a drastic few such Goods Declaration clearance which required 34 signatures and 62 verifications through green channel only one step-Customs processing time from average 04 days to just 08 hrs. Examinations of 100 percent goods went down to only 4 percent in import and 2 percent in exports. Similarly issuance of Rebate cheques reduced from 90 days to only 48 hours.
The PaCCS was introduced for the stated purposes of ACCESS (Automated Customs Clearance System); TARIP (Tariff and Integrated Policy), INTRA (Integrated Regulatory Authority); ECHO (Enhanced Cargo Handling and Port Optimization) however of these four only the first objective that of ACESS was largely and effectively achieved. This solution was carried operated M/s Agility on payment of a huge sum in foreign exchange. During this time Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) endeavored hard to bring out an indigenous product so that it could be locally controlled, amended and expanded and save large amount of foreign exchange. It was also envisaged to put the new system on all Pakistan basis. M/s Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) set up on developing Web Based One Custom (WeBOC) from 2009 which finally replaced the PaCCS as it was rolled out at KICT, PICT and QICT in 2011. After its successful takeover of all the operations under PaCCS it was soon vibrantly rolled out to all Pakistan and at present it has now taken over all operation under PACCS and also that of One Customs except for a very small segment which is operating under One Customs which will be replaced by We BOC in coming months.
The We BOC system operates through a Risk Management System that selects Goods Declarations (GD) filed by the importers, exporters and then isolates specific and particular consignments for checking. The figures show that in import 34 percent of the consignments go out straight away without any intervention in green channel while only 31 percent are selected for a cursory on screen check leaving just 34 percent for physical checking which too is done very quickly. The exports are even more privileged where 68 percent go green and 15 percent yellow whereas just 17 percent are red. This has created a big capacity for handling consignments for custom clearance unprecedented before. The system is successfully able to select consignments for green, yellow and red channels on the basis of Trader profiles and various other parameters. The System allows Advance manifest filing and E-Gates, Secures transit and transshipment processes, handles Bonded carrier registration, Auto blocking, container tracking, check post integration. It manages Quota Management under various exemption and concessionary/conditional regimes and connects directly with Export Development Bureau (EDB). It allows for online feeding of exemption certificates by Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and is able to bind the application of Laws with the various identification codes (i.e. HS codes) of the items/goods under custom clearance. It has Integrated Management Information System (MIS) and keeps complete log of all users. The value added features offered by this system are it ability to real time profiling, System checks, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) based communication with terminal operators, banks, other stakeholders and has the potential for expanding it to connect with other countries, generate Alerts, links Valuation Rulings, tracks and monitors Securities, provides Discrepancy reports and allows access through portable devices. WeBOC has emerged as real time integration Hub where all stake holders such as importers, exporters, , customs management , custom agents, bank, terminal operators , airlines , shipping lines , bonded carriers and ware houses are linked directly in cyberspace reducing the processing time drastically as a result. WeBOC covers transactions like imports, exports, transshipment, transit, AFU, section 79(1), vehicles, private bond, public bondp Privileged person, DTRE/EDB regulatory mechanisms. It can handle cargos of all kinds like Less than/full container load, air cargo, solid bulk and liquid bulk. Its operation has covered seaports, Air freight unit, dry ports, off dock terminals, border Custom stations. EDI is a cyber-connect which allows real time messaging and transfer of data. It has been already implemented with Container Terminal Operators, Ports and Off-dock Terminals whereas it is under testing for Afghan Customs for reconciliation of Transit Consignments. Now the EDI is being established with China, Afghanistan and other countries which would be a great achievement and a leap forward in reaping the benefits of digitalization under WeBOC.
Khalid Hussain Jamali
MCC Preventive Karachi.
Digitalization of Air Cargo and Passenger Movement at Jinnah International Airport Karachi
Customs Service of Pakistan not only being a vibrant department of Government but also a member of World Customs Organization (WCO) has always responded well with the changing dynamics of world. It has been striving in every possible manner to attain benchmark of International standards and best practices in vogue in developed countries, but has taken a step ahead in generating web-based system according to indigenous requirements for ensuring speedy clearances without compromising on prevention on illicit trade.
Genesis and evolution of Technology in Customs is not a recent endeavor but evolved over decades starting with Appraiser Guidance System, Statistical Report System, Batch Data entry System developed in 1980’s with the introduction of On-line Transaction Processing system (OLTP) in 1990’s.
Pakistan Customs Service entered 21st century by launching second phase of digitalization and implemented One Customs System initially and then rolled out Pakistan Customs Computerized System (PACCS) in 2005. However, Customs intelligentsia highlighted the need of an indigenous web-based system for clearances of Cargo providing single window operation for all the stakeholders and for the ultimate facilitation of trade in totality. With this backdrop, Web based One Customs (WeBOC) was developed in Islamabad in 2009 and was rolled out countrywide in 2013.
The launching of WeBOC was not restricted to land stations and Sea ports but was further extended to Air Freight Unit, Karachi on Feb, 28th, 2013 as well being the mini Appraisement function that it performs. This launch brought multifarious benefits to the traders who are interested in importing consignments of urgent nature and are ready to pay relatively higher freight as that of Sea route. Such imports include Pharmaceutical raw material, Human organs for transplant, artificial body parts for instant surgeries, international newspapers, perishable items, wild animals and such items that need immediate clearances which would had only been possible with the implementation of advanced web based system that must had the capacity to cater different requirements. Under WeBOC, now feeding of data is on real time basis and post entry mechanism stands abandoned.
Now all transactions are online from Manifest filing of Airlines to goods declaration. All customs Processes performed on real time basis by Customs Staff where every business process is transparent and efficient and all the assessment based on examination report and images uploaded. Risk management System works behind the system helping in reduction of steps in the clearance of Cargo. Clearance mechanism is based on FIFO (First in, First Out) giving rise to judicial, impartial and quick clearances. Whole process of adjudication by the authorities is online. It gives a facility to have a complete log of all activities ensuring strict controls. Total number of GDs file until now under WeBOC for AFU is 1 53,240.
The new concept of EDI was incorporated in it to have communication with remote users like custodian of goods through EDI. This transparent system based on real time helped minimize the dwell time and decrease cost of doing business for industries and business concerns. The performance level of staff working at Air Freight Unit has increased positively and substantially, which helped customs clearance time to reduce from days to hours. Import and Exports steps which needed clearance from multi-steps to single step. This single window manages to establish link with stakeholders conveniently by having Port community information exchange i-e E- docs exchange with importers, exporters, Clearing Agents, Airlines.
Digitalization is a continuing procedure and Pakistan customs service has undergone various ventures in modernization of remaining business processes. One such recent endeavor is filling of IGM (Import General Manifest) under WeBOC which has been launched On Jan, 6th, 2015. Prior to that Airlines manifests were fed in the system of One Customs anytime after the landing of the Aircraft without any limitation of time to declare manifest which is now duly checked under the system of WeBOC and now Airlines based on Advanced Information Report (AIR) of the arriving aircraft feeds manifest within 22 hours of flight. No entry now could be made by Airline after expiry of the allocated time. The system accepts amendment by the Airlines within the stipulated time allocated for the purpose and not beyond. This change has provided the authorities to establish a mechanism of checks and balances. In addition to that, now manifests are fed in time and early which helped importers filing Goods Declaration early, resulting reduced dwell time of clearances.
WeBOC facility on Nov 1st, 2014 was extended to all imports excluding courier consignments processed through ICG (Immediate Clearance Group) being a vital segment of AFU. However, in the wave of recent events, Clearance of Courier Service through WeBOC is another milestone in the history of Air Freight Unit.
DHL Air Side Facility had already been declared as a Customs Port/Station for clearance of goods imported and exported by air0.
DHL Pakistan and Pakistan Customs who are signatories of MOU for in house Export Customs clearance at Karachi gateway for outbound shipments to support the launch of In house Export processing of all Air Express shipments at DHL Airside facility at JIAP, Karachi. It was a pioneering step to keep in stride with the global business requirements and further augmented the commitment of Pakistan Customs to support change and align it with international trends in declaring Pakistan Customs a dynamic and adaptive department. This public- private partnership of DHL with Customs for In house clearance has facilitated the clientele/ people with streamlined customs clearance, effective tracking of shipments and with reduced transit times.
Prospects for advancements in the way of digitalization are continuously being explored and implemented in every best possible way to have governmental, national and international connectivity.
On Aug 17th, 2015 Pakistan Customs and International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on technical co-operation for the implementation of Air Cargo XML and Advance Passenger Information (API) standards. It is a multimodal system based on Standards defined by World Customs Organization and UN/EDIFACT. This MOU is a step ahead in the digitalization of Air Cargo and Passenger Movement. It will enable the enforcement authorities to receive information about Passengers and goods in advance.
This two-prong achievement in the form of MOU provides the Development of Cargo XML facility that would reduce dwell time of Cargo imported through Air shipment and reduce cost of doing business, which would in turn have greater macroeconomic advantages on the one hand. On the other hand API system will transmit comprehensive details of a passenger before boarding to a flight, which would forestall risks and indeed will enable law enforcement agencies like Pakistan Customs to provide better facilitation to genuine Passengers and to check the culprits. It also provides a mechanism to comply with global security standards especially for identifying persons on the watch list. The existing system PNR (Passenger Name Record) does not provide detailed information about the Passenger.
The development of EDI, simultaneously with the MOU on technical Cooperation for implementation of Electronic Data Interface (EDI) standards in Cargo manifestation under the scheme is another step towards Trade and Passenger Facilitation and will help generate more Revenue and will also curb smuggling and under invoicing. These standards comply with United Nations and International Security Standards and will enable Pakistan Customs to modernize its functions facilitating trade and enhancing its enforcement capacity.
Pakistan Customs Service being an active member of WCO is working for “Digital Customs” which is International Customs Day Slogan declared by WCO for year 2016.Pakistan Customs has always been a great proponent of progression through use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). By Digitalization Pakistan Customs endeavors to upgrade already developed web based system to incorporate all business processes in order to ensure transparent and speedy clearances of legitimate trade and to play its due role in enhancing Economic prospects nationally by promoting trade and to achieve aligned International goals of electronic exchange of information, border security, collection of international trade statistics by embracing digitalization to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency in all respects.
Mona Mehfoz Additional Director Directorate General of Transit Trade, Karachi
Digitalization of Transit Trade; Pakistan Customs at the forefront
The year 2016 has been dedicated to promoting the digitization of Customs processes under the slogan “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement”. Pakistan Customs has made considerable achievement in automation of transit trade.
Country’s main transit partner is land locked Afghanistan to whom Pakistan is extending the facility of transit under Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) 2011. As a transit country, Pakistan has immense potential.
There are also a number of international and regional developments that would help Pakistan in exploring its transit corridor potential. Such as Pakistan’s accession to TIR convention 1975 in July 2015. TIR stands for “Transports Internationaux Routiers” (International Road Transports). This is an international transit system that allows customs-sealed vehicles and freight containers to transit countries without border checks.
Pakistan is also a signatory to the Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit (QTTA) among Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan that will give Pakistan an access to Central Asian Republics (CARs) without passing through Afghanistan. Beside Pakistan’s membership of ECO and Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TFFA), CEPEC and a number of bilateral agreements are important steps towards expansion of transit trade.
Locally, the Government of Pakistan/Asian Development Bank funded project, Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS), has been launched that aims to improve trade facilitation at key border crossing points.
Keeping in mind the future expansion of transit work, Federal Board of Revenue has taken the apt decision of formation of a separate Directorate General of Transit Trade in the year 2013 with regional directorates at Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. In the coming transit trade scenario, Pakistan Customs shall remain at the forefront as one of the most important implementing agencies to safeguard the national interests on the trade and economic front.
Pakistan Customs has covered a lot of ground in redefining the transit trade system through new rules, procedures and business process re-engineering. Automation is the most effective decision support tool to achieve an improved post APTTA 2011 clearance system and has visible positive outcomes.
It has contributed to the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and coordination of Customs activities and has transformed the way that Customs operates. The WeBOC module of Transit Trade Management has achieved full automation of loop of transit cargo movement, starting at clearance from the three seaports i.e. Karachi, Port Qasim and Gwadar, en route monitoring at designated check posts and final cross over at Border Stations of Torkhum in KPK and Chamman in Balochistan.
In order to introduce multi modal transit movement, the WeBOC module of Railways has been rolled out in November 2015. Automation has also served to increase coordination between Afghan Customs/Government and Pakistan Customs. An important achievement is the electronic exchange of information through WeBOC system.
First such step is online acknowledgement of T1 (cross border verification) by Afghan Customs in the WeBOC system over the internet. Second achievement is the issuance of user IDs of Afghan Traders by Afghan Government.
This has promoted transparency as the IDs are issued online by Afghan Customs and WeBOC System withholds the filing of a Goods Declaration to Pakistan Customs if the Jawaznama (Afghan Trader import license) is fake or expired.
Automation has further contributed to smooth compliance of the agreed Principles of APTTA 2011. The Agreement requires that 5.0 percent of the transit goods shall be examined and 20percent shall be scanned. Currently, the agreed percentage of cargo under goes examination/scanning process through system selection. The dwell time has reduced to 1 to 2 days in around 90 percent of the transit cargo.
There is a reduction in unnecessary human intervention and a faster clearance time for legitimate trade. Looking ahead, the implementation of TIR shall open new avenues for transit trade. Karachi and Port Qasim would be the main ports linking transit trade between Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East and China. The TIR System is highly computerized with various IRU (International Road Network Union) IT applications that permit electronic pre-declarations to Customs and real-time traceability of the TIR Carnet.
In view of potential increase in international trade stakeholders, Pakistan Customs is looking forward to establishing EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EDE (Electronic Data Exchange) with all transit partners.
To sum up, digitization of customs procedures of movement of transit cargo through increased automation and electronic activity is a pre-requisite to keeping pace with fast development of transit trade and transportation in Pakistan, the South Asian region and globally.
A Digital Customs shall contribute towards achieving a balance between revenue protection and trade facilitation which shall ultimately boost Pakistan’s trade and economy and shall keep Pakistan prepared for a progressive engagement with modern challenges and opportunities.
Pakistan Customs: Progressive engagement through digital customs
The World Customs Organization has dedicated the year 2016 to the promotion of digitization of customs processes. When we look back at the journey of digitization in Pakistan Customs, it shows a continuous streak of bolstering stars packed with IT designs and applications for achieving the objectives of documentation of economy, online filing, computerized clearances and trade facilitation.
In the early 1980s, it was the need for documentation of economy and collection of trade and tax statistics which led Pakistan Customs to start capturing data through the FBR owned IT company, Pakistan Revenue Automated Limited (PRAL). During 1981-83, three software applications were launched. First; Appraiser Guidance System, second; Statistical Report System and third; Batch Data Entry System were initiated to capture customs processing data.
These projects constituted the first phase of digitization of Customs in Pakistan. Pakistan Customs then moved quickly to keep abreast with technological advancement and increased the use of IT applications to business processes replacing manual registrations of transactions with computerization.
In this phase, Online Transaction Processing System (OLTP) was introduced in 1992. Then Express Lane Facility (ELF) was initiated in 1998 which simplified examination and clearance procedures for big traders. In 2000, an electronic assessment system for customs clearances was launched and in 2002, a risk management system was added which selected consignments for examination. This resulted in trade facilitation and made Customs clearance functions more transparent.
The third phase of digitization of Pakistan Customs started in 2003 with the initiation of Customs Administration Reforms (CARE) project, which was part of the overall Tax Administrative Reform Program (TARP) supported by the World Bank. The reform task force report, 2001, highlighted the inadequacy of the earlier piecemeal efforts for digitization of Customs processes and identified further challenges of transparency, facilitation, reduction in clearance time and better trading environment as required by changing times.
The CARE project set out to redesign and modernize customs operations and services through round the clock clearance, self-assessment, risk management, a paperless single window environment and transparency in business transactions (WB Doing Business Case Studies-2007).
The distinguishing features of this initiative were the political will and spearheading of the project by Customs officers. The result was the Pakistan Customs Computerized Community System (PACCS) introduced in 2005-06, which unlike the earlier piecemeal efforts, was a comprehensive, integrated information technology system to implement user management, carrier declaration, goods declaration, risk management, assessment, examination, payments, MIS, transshipment management, warehouse management, adjudication module and so on, virtually covering all major customs operations.
It was reported by the World Bank that trade became easier in Pakistan, with customs clearance at the Karachi International Container terminal dropping from 10 days in 2004 to 4 hours in 2007. Customs revenues also went up, from Rs115 billion to Rs138 billion, despite a visible reduction in tariffs (WB, 2007).
Unfortunately, PAACS was shelved in 2010 due to a contractual dispute with the vendor. Pakistan Customs was forced to design an alternative computerized clearance system with indigenous resources by utilizing expertise accumulated during two decades of digitization. The abrupt switch from a modern functional system to a home grown system, still under development, was a nerve racking exercise for Pakistan Customs. But, the challenge was well met and the old One Customs System was extensively modified and a new comprehensive customs clearance software known as the Web Based One Customs (WeBOC) came into being in 2011.
The development of WeBOC signifies the fourth phase of digitization of Pakistan Customs. All modern features required for revenue assurance, security of supply chain and trade facilitation are ingrained in the system putting it at par with any other modern customs clearance system in the world.
It has the capability to adapt into a comprehensive National Single Window and a perfect system for coordinated border management.
Today, WEBOC runs electronic filing, 24/7 operations, end to end integration, risk management system, MIS, advance manifest information management, communication with stake holder through EDI and electronic payment system linked with banks, the modules covering almost all customs related functions. It serves more than 40,000 users like traders, customs agents, airlines, bonded carriers, banks, port terminals, shipping lines, warehouse keepers and government departments.
Recently, grant of access to Afghan Customs for confirming receipt of transit consignments has enhanced outreach of the system moving it closer to the concept of coordinated border management. The journey of reforms and digitization of Pakistan Customs does not end here. Changing times continue to bring new challenges.
By acceding to the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF) in 2015, Pakistan Customs needs to adopt even more modern instruments like advance passenger information system by collating the information of API and PNR for raising secure customs enforcement regime at airports, installing an intelligence driven RMS and the partnership with trade through Authorized Economic Operators program for improved compliance and security of supply chain. Also moving from a system of up front controls and checks to post clearance audit regime will result in better customs management.
Pakistan Customs must, therefore, engage in the fifth phase of digitization to realize the vision developed by the World Customs Organization for Customs in the 21st century.
The World Customs Organization, Brussels
Regional Customs administrations may benefit from affordable WeBOC system
World Customs Organization (WCO) has dedicated 2016 to promoting the digitization of Customs processes under the slogan “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement.”
The theme provides South Asian nations a huge opportunity to showcase and further promote their use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Off course, India and Pakistan can benefit the most owing to the size of their populations, relative level of development especially in ICT, proximity, the similarity in production structures and levels of technology along with the familiarity of cultures, favorable terms of trade, cheaper patents and lower royalty.
Given the stagnant intra-regional trade currently at 5.0 percent compared to 58 percent in EU, 52 per cent in the NAFTA region, and 26 per cent in the ASEAN zone, Pakistan and other smaller economies may benefit from “progressive engagement” immensely.
For example, Pakistan can save around $2.5 billion to $3 billion or Rs215 billion to Rs260 billion on account of freight charges only.
The manual clearance of cargo known as ‘One Customs’ takes huge time; sometimes up to 32 business processes and signatures of around 20 officers are required to clear one consignment.
Naturally this is unbearable in terms of time, efficiency and effectiveness. Pakistan Customs has recently deployed WeBOC, which has shortened the clearance cycle at stellar pace. Many consignments would be cleared in as little as 12 minutes from the Green Channel depending on profile of traders.
Other agencies like Anti Narcotics Force can access the system in non-intrusive but more effective manner. Traders would not be coming into contact with officials which will bring transparency and reduce unwanted rush in sensitive border area directly contributing in security.
Once Customs clearance systems of all countries are digitized like Pakistan’s WeBOC, illegal practices like routing of consignments through Dubai & Singapore, repacking of goods after omitting identification of origin and re-shipping etc would be eliminated resulting in effective implementation of national import policies.
Pakistan Customs has already achieved an excellent level of automation. Almost 90 percent of import and 80 percent of export cargo is cleared through fully automated WeBOC software. Further it is rapidly integrating other government departments in this platform e.g Electronic Form ‘E’ – a pre-requisite document for exports has been implemented, integrating more than 1500 commercial bank branches across the country and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Similarly modules of Certificates of Origin, Cess Collection, import, export and local licensing and manufacturing in Export Oriented Units and Manufacturing Bonds will soon be digitized.
This platform gives an unmatched opportunity to other Customs and Trade Administrations of South Asia to benefit from Pakistan’s home-grown WeBOC system which addresses peculiar problems of South Asian Cultures and Administrations.
These nations can even purchase software and employ well trained human resource and expertise from Pakistan at very affordable rates versus costly European or American Solutions.
Therefore, it is important to engage South Asia progressively by delinking mutual relations from geopolitics and looking at trade and commerce activities through the modern ‘digital eye’.
TIR Implementation through WeBOC
Globalization of trade is a critical challenge for the world economy as a whole. Increased economic competition implies contracting net revenues constraining to rethink production, supply and transportation methods and, subsequently, to concentrate on the most proficient way of moving merchandise.
This increased movement of merchandise is, however, hampered by invisible non-tariff barriers for example, queuing times at borders, surge in costs due to increased security concerns and submission of multiple guarantees in addition to cumbersome Customs procedures.
TIR thus provides a mechanism, which is fool proof and provides for phenomenal reduction in transportation cost resulting into increased competitiveness. TIR stands for “Transports Internationaux Routiers” (International Road Transports).
The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) is a multilateral agreement that was concluded at Geneva on 14th November, 1975, to harmonize and simplify formalities of global road transport.
The 1975 convention replaced the TIR Convention of 1959, which itself replaced the 1949 TIR Agreement between various European countries. The conventions were adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
As of today, there are 69 parties to the Convention, including 68 states and the European Union. Currently, TIR system is operational in 57 of the contracting parties. Pakistan acceded to TIR convention in 2015.
The TIR Convention builds up a worldwide Customs transit framework with maximum facility to move merchandise in sealed vehicles or containers; from a customs office of departure in one country to a customs office of destination in another country; without requiring extensive and time-consuming border checks at intermediate borders; simultaneously, providing customs authorities with required security and international chain of guarantees.
The TIR system not only covers customs transit by road but a combination is possible with other modes of transport (e.g. rail, inland waterway, and even maritime transport) as long as at least one part of the total transport is made by road.
To date, more than 40,000 international transport operators have been authorized (by their respective competent national authorities) to access the TIR system, using more than 3.2 million TIR carnets per year.
The International Road Union (IRU) TIR Electronic Pre Declaration (TIR-EPD) application permits TIR Carnet Holders to comply, free of charge, with the European Union New Computerized Transit System (EU NCTS)/TIR and Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Regulations which went into effect in 2009, with the EU security prerequisites, which entered into force on January 01, 2011, and in addition with Decision No. 899 of the Commission of the Customs Union on mandatory submission of preliminary information of transported merchandise by submitting TIR Electronic Pre-Declarations to Customs in a simple way.
The IRU TIR-EPD is also completely compliant with the World Customs Organization’s Framework of Standards. As of today, 31 countries are connected through TIR-EPD. By means of TIR-EPD, TIR carnet holders can submit, free of charge, electronic pre-declarations to Customs authorities in different countries. With TIR-EPD, Customs authorities are able to confirm that an authorized TIR carnet holder submitted the pre-declaration and that the TIR carnet is valid.
This exchange of advance information facilitates pre-arrival risk analysis and makes border crossings simpler, safer and faster.
Real-Time Safe TIR (RTS): Towards the start of 1990s, geopolitical changes resulted into considerable surge in trade volumes and in the quantity of trade haulers performing TIR transport. In its turn, this increased trade presented challenge of administering TIR guarantee chain required by different countries. In order to address the challenge of submitting multiple guarantees for a single consignment in an efficient and secure manner, on October 20, 1995, the Administrative Committee for the TIR Convention adopted a recommendation, which set out an electronic control framework for TIR Carnets. This control framework – Safe TIR, was incorporated into the TIR Convention as Annex 10 on August 12, 2006, and 19 countries are connected through RTS at the moment.
IRU developed Real-Time Safe TIR framework, which permits Customs Authorities of each TIR operational Contracting Party to transmit the data electronically on end of the TIR operation to the IRU in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the Annex 10 to the TIR Convention.
Once the data is received by the IRU, the information is made electronically accessible to the on-screen characters of the TIR framework (Customs Authorities, issuing and guaranteeing associations and TIR guarantee chain) for the confirmation of the status and legitimacy of each TIR Carnet at any moment in real time.
TIR Implementation through WeBOC: With the successful roll out of WeBOC on border stations (Wagha and Torkham), Pakistan Customs is well prepared to implement TIR system electronically by using IRU IT Risk Management tools i.e. TIR-EPD and RTS.
Initial meetings with IRU ended with the decision that electronic messaging between IT system of IRU and WeBOC will be effected through IBM Integration Service Bus (ISB) which Pakistan Customs is in the process of procuring. With the addition of this new middleware application, an uninterrupted and secure data exchange of carnets’ information will be ensured.
In the meanwhile, consultative sessions with Pakistan National Committee of International Chamber of Commerce are being conducted for finalization of business requirements and preparation of technical documents for initiating software changes.
Development of requisite software changes will start once the business requirements are finalized. Keeping in view the successful implementation of WeBOC all over the country, it is safely assessed that WeBOC is bound to provide an efficient and seamless platform for launching of TIR system in Pakistan. Successful implementation of TIR will add another feather to Pakistan Customs’ cap.
Naveed Abbas Memon
Directorate of Reforms and Automation (Pakistan Custom), Karachi.
Abid Hussain Hakro Deputy Director Directorate of Reform & Automation (Pakistan Customs)
Disaster recovery as part of business continuity planning.
Disaster recovery consists of designing a system for the recovery or continuation of critical business processes and systems, data protection and data recovery in eventuality of natural or human caused disaster, it centers on the IT or technology systems supporting critical functions of any organization.
Disaster recovery planning is essential for an IT system and its core procedures. It is a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect an organization or system in the event of a disaster. It can also be called a part of larger process known as business continuity planning and includes planning for resumption of applications, data, hardware, electronic communications (such as networking) and other IT infrastructure.
A business continuity plan (BCP) includes planning for non-IT related aspects such as key personnel, facilities, crisis communication and reputation protection, and should refer to the disaster recovery plan (DRP) for IT related infrastructure recovery / continuity.
There are several methods of data protection in an IT driven system such as backups made to tape and sent off-site at regular intervals; backups made to disk on-site and automatically copied to off-site disk, or made directly to off-site disk; replication of data to an off-site location, which overcomes the need to restore the data (only the systems then need to be restored or synchronized), often making use of Storage Area Network (SAN).
Other methods offer private cloud solutions, which replicate the management data (VMs, Templates and disks) into the storage domains which are part of the private cloud setup. These management data are configured as an xml representation called OVF (Open Virtualization Format), and can be restored from the Data Base once a disaster occurs.
Hybrid cloud solutions replicate both on-site and to off-site data centers. These solutions provide the ability to instantly fail-over to local on-site hardware, but in the event of a physical disaster, servers can be brought up in the cloud data centers as well. Examples include Quorom, Cloud from Persistent Systems or Ever Safe.
The use of high availability systems keep both the data and system replicated off-site, enabling continuous access to systems and data, even after a disaster (often associated with Cloud storage) is also in vogue. In many cases, an organization may elect to use an outsourced disaster recovery provider to provide a stand-by site and systems rather than using their own remote facilities, increasingly via Cloud Computing.
Data recovery is a procedure of salvaging inaccessible data from corrupted or damaged storage, removable media or files, when the data they store cannot be accessed in normal way. The data is commonly salvaged from storage media such as internal or external hard disc drives, USB flash drives, magnetic tapes, CDs, DVDs or other electronic devices. Techniques for recovery of data envisage hardware/software repairs or remote data recovery.
Pakistan Customs possesses Disaster Recovery System with capability to replicate vital Customs data in order to ensure its safe storage and security. The primary site of storage of Customs data i.e Data Center is located at Custom House, Karachi, where Storage Area Network (SAN) , Hi-tech Servers, air conditioning and air purification systems are installed, which ensure that trade transactions are carried out without any disturbance.
The current system for storage and security works on real time basis so that data of a transaction is stored at secure places without any loss in eventuality of any IT disaster. Two types of data replication methodologies are being implemented at the Data Center as (i) SAN-TO-SAN Replication: This is a service where a centralized repository of stored data is duplicated to another repository on real time basis. This is a three way replication from Data Center Karachi to Regional Tax Office, Karachi and Data Centre, Federal Board of Revenue, Islamabad on block level and on real time basis.
(ii) Structured Query Language (SQL) base Replication: SQL is a special-purpose programming language designed for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS), or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS). This is not a block level replication and solely used to replicate data to multiple destinations but requires a machine to be present at each location.
The various options are being analyzed by FBR for upgrading and modernizing current Disaster Recovery System of Customs operations for further increasing its efficiency and safety.
One option is to relocate primary Data Centre to a nearby Customs Station in order to improve safety and security of data and infrastructure in event of any disaster. Other options include Cloud Computing Technology as it would be more safe and efficient using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server; and would provide storage solutions to FBR and users with various capabilities to store and process data and information on real time basis.
By Abid Hussain Hakro
Directorate of Reform & Automation (Pakistan Customs)
Hightlights Pictures To Karachi Customs
Hightlights Pictures To Lahore Customs
Hightlights Pictures To Quetta Customs