Deputy PM says customs sector to be modernised and made transparent

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The customs sector needs to be modernised and made transparent in order to ensure that revenue collection for the 2020 budget reaches 8.200 billion kip according to the government’s plan.   

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy stressed the matter at a recent annual meeting held in Vientiane to review the customs sector’s work during 2019 and to draw up the plan for 2020.

Mr Somdy said the Customs Department, the Regional Customs 1-7, and Customs Inspection Units in provinces and international and local checkpoints should enhance their role and responsibility to address issues such as monitoring, inspection, enforcement of customs rules, prevention of smuggling, management of fuel imports, illegal import of vehicles, and modernisation of customs operations.

He said the customs sector has done outstanding work in the past, including the collection of revenue worth 6,889 billion kip, accounting for 91.31 percent of the plan and an increase of 3.80 percent or 251.98 billion kip, compared to 2018.

Modernisation of customs work includes customs clearance for imports (Asycuda), collection of customs, taxes and other fees through the banking system, smart tax, national single window, management and monitoring of import of vehicles, and collection of vehicle and passenger fees at checkpoints through the electronic system (KIOSK). 

Organisational improvement has included enhanced steps to prevent the smuggling of goods, the work done by the smuggling investigation and suppression division, bringing this work across the country directly under a central command, and steps to actively enhance the legislative process.  

 Alongside this, it can be seen that certain customs work still needs to be addressed and given more attention, such as ideological work, monitoring and inspection of the performance of customs officials at the central and local levels, work on customs notifications, rechecking of customs notifications, and the investigation and suppression of smuggling, said Mr Somdy.

After the restructuring of  the customs sector in mid-2019, there has been active movement in managing the import of petroleum products, which are the main source of revenue and account for a large portion of all customs revenue.

However, loose management at checkpoints has created loopholes that have resulted in the smuggling of goods such as fuel, electrical appliances, construction materials, consumer goods and agricultural products from international customs points to local and traditional checkpoints, he said.

Addressing the issue of improper vehicle imports at the central and local levels, he said there was no unity in matters such as the implementation of some pricing practices.

Mr Somdy further said the customs sector has to be modernised, especially in relation to revenue management in a transparent manner that can be verified, in order to ensure revenue collection for the 2020 budget reaches 8.200 billion kip, according to the plan.   

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