The National Revenue Authority (NRA) has ended a one day customs stakeholders’ conference on the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) at the Conference Room of Custom House, Cline town in Freetown.
The theme of the conference was: “Automate to improve the customs business climate”.
ASYCUDA is a computer program which helps Customs Officers process customs declarations more efficiently; it also allows them to use their skills more efficiently and enable the customs department to simplify the work involved in the import and export of goods for agents, importers and exporters.
Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Alimamy K said that the motive of the conference is to give an update on ASYCUDA with regards trade facilitation.
NRA, he said, has taken the lead to acquire a soft ware which would reduce the burden and cost of Agents or Brokers in clearing their goods at the quay.
Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Excise Duties, Abu Bakarr Finnoh said that NRA has three major responsibilities: to collect revenue, facilitating trade and promoting the society by preventing the importation of sub standard goods in the territory of Sierra Leone.
He noted that all of these responsibilities could be accomplished with the implementation of ASYCUDA.
In her power point presentations on the functional aspects of ASYCUDA, Madam Nelly Tinarwo UNCTAD Customs Advisor said that, ASYCUDA speeds up clearance of goods by reducing delays and the work required to produce monthly returns.
Highlighting the benefits, she said that software will increase revenue yield from accurate calculations, rate duties, decrease opportunities for corrupt practice, increase customs effectiveness and simplify procedures to facilitate trade.
She stated that ASYCUDA checks data input against control files and any invalid data would cause an error message (showing red) to be displayed and may stop further processing.
When a declaration is finally free of errors, it may be registered or assessed and taxes established, she said.
Speaking on the technical aspects of ASYCUDA, Geoffrey Kossami, UNCTAD Advisor pointed out that agents, importers, exporters and brokers will purchase their own equipments; but would receive the software for free from NRA.
He added that agents, importers and exporters would process their declaration through their own office, which would save time, cut down costs and improve quality.
By Abibatu Kamara