The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority expects to improve trade between Fiji, the region and the world, when it upgrades its information technology systems.
This follows a recent study tour to Sri Lanka organised and subsidised by the ASYCUDA Support Mechanism for the Pacific (ASMP).
The regional heads of Customs administrations in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu were part of the tour.
The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority was represented by its Chairman, Mr Ajith Kodagoda; Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jitoko Tikolevu and General Manager Customs, Mr Jone Louie.
Mr Tikolevu said it was important to learn from the experience of countries such as Sri Lanka on the implementation of Automated Systems of Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World.
Sri Lanka has been using ASYCUDA World for the past 20 years.
ASYCUDA is a computerised customs management system, which covers most foreign trade procedures. The system handles manifests and customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures.
Fiji and the three regional countries are currently using ASYCUDA ++ but will soon commence on implementing the more advanced version, ASYCUDA World.
?ASYCUDA World will enhance trade facilitation through effective integration of stakeholders such as banks, border agencies and other regulatory agencies,? Mr Tikolevu said.
?Electronic payments, one approval from multiple agencies and reduction of paper work are outcomes that are expected from ASYCUDA World.
?The enhanced system will assist our integration with these four countries in our trade transactions where Customs documentations can be shared effectively, for example the export documentation from Fiji will be used as import documents for PNG.
?We have had occurrences of goods being declared as something else in another country and something else in the final destination. For example, a businessman can state that he is exporting second hand tyres in PNG but declares them as new tyres in Fiji where there will be lesser duty. That will now be impossible as we will be sharing the same data and this data will be accessed from anywhere in the world. The system will generally help compliance and in turn revenue collection,? Mr Tikolevu said.
For Fiji, the visit is a follow up of the Sri Lanka visit to Fiji by the Director General and a senior official of Sri Lanka Customs in 08-12 July 2013. This visit was a fact finding mission to see Fiji?s Customs processes and how we can effectively progress to ASYCUDA World.
During the study visit, the Chairman and CEO of FRCA expressed their appreciation to Sri Lanka Customs for their continued support to Fiji.
Following the visit, the Heads of Customs Administrations (PNG, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji) had a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 17 and 18 October 2013 to review the activities of the office of the ASYCUDA Support Mechanism for the Pacific (ASMP) in 2013.
Delegates discussed their current ASYCUDA related activities and it was noted that preparatory work for the deployment of ASYCUDA World in their respective countries was well underway. Priority areas to be covered in 2014 were discussed including enhancing regional integration.
In the meeting, the CEO FRCA signed the ASMP proposal for the deployment of ASCYUDA World in Fiji indicating Fiji?s commitment to the project.