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Customs leads the administrative procedures group with low compliance costs

09:54 | 01/09/2018

VCN - The 3rd rank in the administrative procedures cost index (APCI) in 2018 partly reflects efforts of the Customs sector in the administrative reform for the business community.

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Ninh Binh Customs officers (Ha Nam Ninh Customs Department) guide enterprises to carry out customs procedures. Photos: H.Nu

Overall picture of administrative procedures

The report on the administrative procedures cost index 2018 (APCI 2018) of the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on Administrative Reform is a report assessing the actual costs that businesses and organizations pay for implementing administrative procedures according to current regulations.

APCI 2018 marks the two year operation of the Government with a determination to improve the business environment in order to raise Vietnam's position in the international arena as well as promote domestic investment, and better attract foreign investment capital. The message "facilitating Government" of the Government is towards specific actions to focus on institutional improvement; to review all policies, mechanisms and legal corridors in the direction of removing barriers, difficulties for people and improving the business investment environment; to quickly shift from management to service and to build exemplary officers in words and actions in all cases.

With this message, the administrative apparatus must operate efficiently, smoothly, professionally and creatively to ensure that the operations are for the interests of people, organizations and businesses. Administrative procedures must be clearly defined, transparent and simple to ensure that compliance costs for people, organizations and businesses are at a low level.

The report on the basis of the Government's message analyzed the achievements of administrative reforms of the Government in the past year and identified areas for the reforms for eight groups of key administrative procedures for enterprises, which are: Start-ups / business registration; Tax; Investment; Licenses, practicing certificates; Customs; Land; Environment and Construction. The groups of administrative procedure selected by APCI have been selected by international organizations to evaluate the national business environment (Doing Business Index of the World Bank) and national competitiveness (National Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum)

The collection of information on the cost burden on enterprises is conducted directly for enterprises that have implemented administrative procedures in the last 6 months of 2017 (to ensure the up-to-date accuracy of collected information), based on list of businesses, organizations that have implemented administrative procedures in one of the above eight groups in 63 provinces and cities.

APCI 2018 shows an overall picture of administrative procedures with a burden of compliance costs nationwide and recommendations for administrative reform.

Customs gradually makes a spread

Customs administrative procedures (Customs procedures for imported and exported goods customs) are in the low compliance cost group (ranked third in the eight administrative groups), accounting for 28% (VND 3.53 million) of compliance costs of all 8 groups (approximately VND 12.7 million). Direct costs are the decisive factor for the compliance cost of this group (accounting for 91%), and time costs account for only a small share of 9%. As a result, the cost of working time of 12.1 hours for enterprises to complete Customs administrative procedure is relatively low. This result reflects the efforts of the Customs sector in the reform and modernization over the recent years.

In addition to the implementation of the National Single Window mechanism at international seaports, Customs has implemented the National Single Window mechanism at international airports across the country.

With the spirit of reform and modernization, the General Department of Customs (GDC) has put the automated systems for Customs clearance VNACCS / VCIS into operation in 2014. Accordingly, 1005 of Customs procedures have been processed automatically, 100% of Customs Departments and Branches have electronically processed Customs procedures with 99,65% of enterprises participating. By the end of 2017, Customs had 170/180 administrative procedures which were handled via online public services at least level 3. According to the Government, the implementation of e-Customs procedures via automated systems for Customs clearance (VNACCS / VCIS) and the National Single Window at international seaports have reduced the customs clearance time from 21 days to 14 days for exports, 13 days for imports and reduced 20% of the cost and 30% of customs clearance time for imported and exported goods.

At present, the Customs has step by step improved the model of e-customs procedures and solved the problems arising in reality and applied information technology in the processing of each administrative agency, among administrative agencies and in transactions with organizations and individuals. The deployment of VNACCS / VCIS, National Single Window, ASEAN Single Window, and the IT application in customs operations with the provision of public service to people and businesses, have all contributed to providing maximum support to businesses.

However, the survey of compliance costs also reveals that the reform of customs administrative procedures is still significant. Based on the analysis of compliance costs, the Customs sector should focus on solving the following issues:

The reform of the processing time of Customs administrative procedures group is significant including from the stage of studying information to the stage of receiving the result of administrative procedures to support enterprises to study information, prepare application, amend, correct the dossier etc., thereby helping reduce the compliance costs of the Customs administrative procedures group.

Removing technical errors of the system receiving e-applications for its smooth operation.

The Customs officers should be regularly trained to improve their professional skills in the process of IT application to accelerate the application submission by enterprises.

Further implementing online administrative procedures in the Customs sector to minimize the processing time and publicize the processing of administrative procedures in order to prevent harassment and negativity.

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This is a positive result and a good sign for the customs sector. At the conference to announce the APCI 2018 Report which was recently held in Ha Noi, with the participation of many delegates from ministries, business associations and enterprises, Minister-Chairman of the Government’s Office Mai Tien Dung, highly appreciated efforts in the reform of administrative procedures of the customs sector in recent years. The Minister emphasized that management ministries should make more efforts in reform for quick customs clearance. It is because the specialized inspection accounted for 72% of customs clearance time. At the same time, the Customs sectors also should further reform and renovate to reduce costs for the enterprises engaging in import and export activities.

By Pham Huu Tiep/ Huyen Trang