September 22, 2019 06:41

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Development of the leading IT unit of the Customs sector

14:48 | 09/09/2019

VCN- After more than 30 years of establishment and development, the Customs IT and Statistics Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs has developed and become a leading department in applying information technology (IT) programs in specialised operations for the reform, modernisation and trade facilitation policy of the Customs sector.  

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Customs officers of the Customs IT and Statistics Department take a photo with the leaders of General Department of Vietnam Customs on the occasion of 15th Anniversary of the Department's establishment on March 26, 2016. Photo: Tuan Dung.

Established from a Computer Team to the Customs IT and Statistics Department

The Computer Team under the General Department Office was established in 1987 with only three officers responsible for using computing applications in customs management.

In 1994, the Customs IT and Statistics Center under the General Department of Vietnam Customs was established. In 2001, the Customs IT and Statistics Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs was established according to Decision 40/2001/QD-TTg on the basis of restructuring of the Customs IT and Statistics Center.

Currently, the Customs IT and Statistics Department’s organisational structure includes nine divisions, one centre and 110 customs officers. The Department has assigned more functions and tasks to advise the Director General of Vietnam Customs to manage, deploy IT applications and Customs statistics. In the context of strong reform and modernisation of the Customs sector, the workload of Customs officers in the IT field, especially the Customs IT and Statistics Department is heavier.

Motivation in the modernisation

Over the past 30 years, the Customs IT and Statistics Department has excellently accomplished its tasks and took the lead in the development of IT applications in a comprehensive manner. Thereby, making IT become a motivation in Customs administrative reform, modernisation and facilitation to imports, exports and immigration; enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs management.

The remarkable achievement and strong reform in customs modernisation is the implementation of e-customs procedures. Leaders of the Customs IT and Statistics Department said that on the basis of applying IT in customs management, in the context of international integration of the country and trade facilitation policies, the department has advised with leaders of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the Ministry of Finance many solutions to reform administrative procedures, reduce customs clearance time of goods.

In 2005, the Government approved the Customs sector to pilot e-customs procedures according to Decision 149/2005/QD-TTg at Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City Customs Departments.

After 10 years of pilot and expansion with many positive results, on July 1 2014, the implementation of e-customs procedures was raised to a new level with the operation of the VNACCS/VCIS funded by the Japanese government. The IT system of the Customs sector has been transferred from the decentralized data processing model to centralised data processing model and stably operated 24/7, ensuring safety and security. For the business community, the system allows to carry out procedures 24/7, simplifies requests for submission of dossiers and documents; quickly implement customs procedures from one to three seconds for the Green channel declaration.

Currently, Vietnam Customs has mastered and operated VNACCS/VCIS stably. To achieve these results, it is a great effort of the whole Customs sector, especially IT officers with the core force of the Customs IT and Statistics Department. Over the past years, Deputy Director of the Department Le Duc Thanh has not forgotten the hard time but full of pride in the implementation of VNACCS/VCIS.

“In order to centralise the database of satellite IT systems, the whole Customs sector must convert data for nearly 200 points (each of which was a branch or a professional team). While it is required the conversion does not affect the import-export activities. IT officers must work overtime. The conversion was implemented outside working time of Friday until the end of the weekend. Local customs units must close the data and bring a hard drive to send data to the General Department of Vietnam Customs at night. Whether the Customs units are in the mountains or plains, the north or the south, they must comply with the plan. In urgent period, the data is often transmitted at 9 pm or 10 pm on Friday and IT officers must transmit and receive data,” Thanh said.

Besides, VNACCS/VCIS, currently, the department is also responsible for operating a series of IT systems such as e-payment, e-manifest, online public service system (HQ36a).

Notably, in 2017, the Customs sector operated the Vietnam Automated System for Seaport Customs Management. This is considered the largest IT application programme since the implementation of VNACCS/VCIS. So far, with the efforts of the department and local customs departments at the seaport, the VASSCM has been implemented in almost all airports, bonded warehouses, centralised check points, contributing to further facilitation to the business community and improving the efficiency of the state management on customs.

Currently, to facilitate trade and reduce clearance time, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of State management on customs and catch up with the achievements of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the Customs sector with the core force as the Customs IT and Statistics Department has focused on deploying the scheme on redesigning IT system. The goal of building a new IT system of the Customs sector is set on the basis of applying new technological achievements, in line with international standards, towards "digital Customs", meeting the requirements on smart administration; management for enterprises, import-export and transit goods; means of transport on exit, entry and in transit, from the beginning to the end. The new system will be able to integrate, connect and share information with ministries, sectors and businesses through the National Single Window mechanism and ready to exchange customs data with countries in the region and globally.

development of the leading it unit of the customs sector
IT applications have been deployed in almost all specialised operations of the Customs sector. Photo: T.B

Doing well the role of Standing Office of Committee 1899

Since 2016, the Customs IT and Statistics Department has also played an important role in advising the General Department of Vietnam Customs well fulfill its tasks as the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee on ASEAN Single Window, National Single Window and Trade Facilitation (Committee 1899).

As the standing office, the department must be responsible for advising and managing a very large work volume of the 1899 Committee. At the same time, the Department must also work with the ministries and sectors in connecting each administrative procedure and ensuring the smooth operation of the national single-window portal with the increasing volume of procedures, businesses and records.

Within the limited scope of an article, it is difficult to say all the details about the maturity, change and contributions of the Customs IT and Statistics Department. However, through the typical work contents appreciated by the Government, the Ministry of Finance and the business community, it can be seen that the strong development and great contributions of the department in the process of customs reform and modernisation.

By Nguyen Quoc/Ngoc Loan