June 03, 2020 00:26

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Ho Chi Minh City Customs facilitates customs clearance in nationwide social distancing period

10:17 | 08/04/2020

 VCN- With a huge volume of import and export goods at Ho Chi Minh City seaports, during the nationwide social distancing period according to the Prime Minister's Directive 16/CT-TTg, Ho Chi Minh City Tax Department has made great efforts to provide solutions to effectively prevent the pandemic and facilitate customs clearance.

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ho chi minh city customs facilitates customs clearance in nationwide social distancing period

Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department Dinh Ngoc Thang inspected the prevention of pandemic and goods clearance at the High-Tech Park Customs. Photo: H.T

Carry out customs clearance promptly

Directly inspecting and directing the prevention of the pandemic and customs clearance of goods at a number of large seaport customs branches in the first days of nationwide social distancing, the Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, Dinh Ngoc Thang, directed the branches to deploy urgent solutions to ensure the parallel performance of preventing the pandemic and goods clearance. 

Accordingly, checkpoints have been established at customs branches to measure body temperatures of passengers coming in and out the headquarters and customs areas, and implementing disinfection, ensuring the effective prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In parallel with the anti-pandemic work, the Director requested customs branches to arrange officers to process customs procedures for goods to respond to each pandemic scenario. Review businesses that have large turnover and tax payment, good compliance with laws to regularly contact them via phone, email and message to capture their operation and support them; request businesses to use online public services, electronic transactions, encourage businesses to use services of customs brokers.

In the first days of nationwide social distancing, although the volume of goods increased compared to previous days, the goods cleared at large seaport customs branches is still smooth. At Sai Gon Seaport Customs Branch of Zone 1, in the first two days of national social distancing, the volume of import-export goods increased significantly. For export goods, the branched processed for more than 1.5 million customs declaration forms. Of which, on Hung Kings Commemoration Day, the branch processed customs clearance for more than 800 export declaration forms with a turnover of more than USD 1.3 million. Export goods are mainly aquatic products, frozen seafood, fruits and wooden products.

Deputy Manager of Saigon seaport Customs Branch of Zone 1 Pham Thi Leo said the unit has performed regulations on goods clearance during the nationwide social distancing period. On the first day of nationwide social distancing, the volume of goods cleared at the branch increased more than before, because businesses carried out customs procedures before the holiday. However, the branch still assigned officers to process customs clearance for businesses. After the holiday, the branch has reduced 50% of officers, performed rotation at the office and performed work remotely.

Facilitate and ensure revenue

Creating the most favorable conditions for the clearance of import and export goods during the nationwide social distancing period is the parallel task set by the Ho Chi Minh Customs Department when reducing by 50% of officers to preform remotely. Accordingly, the Department directs its customs branches to effectively implement plans and schemes to facilitate maximum support for the business community during the complex development of the pandemic. Take the initiative in assigning officials to inspect and process customs procedures as soon as businesses send information to the system of the General Department of Vietnam Customs rather than waiting for businesses to present dossiers at Customs headquarters.

ho chi minh city customs facilitates customs clearance in nationwide social distancing period
Ho Chi Minh City Customs ensures quick customs clearance in the first days of the nationwide social distancing. Photo: T.H

While carrying out customs procedures for enterprises, customs officers must guide them fully, clearly and accurately. Except for the need to provide paper dossiers and physical inspection of goods, officers are not allowed to require enterprises go to the customs headquarters to exchange and present documents that are not included in the regulations. Requests for supplement of dossiers and documents are made no more than once during the handling process and must be notified on the system. The feedback notice needs information about the officers who are in charge of handling dossiers for enterprises to contact, exchange via phone, email and online messaging software. At the same time, develop plans to support enterprises to restore import and export production and business when the pandemic is controlled, ensuring that import and export activities return to normal and to ensure budget revenue.

According to Nguyen Quoc Toan, Deputy Head in charge of Import and Export Tax Division of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, in the first quarter of 2020, although import-export turnover increased, however, items with increased turnover, they have low tax rate (most of them have import tax rates of 0%), some import items have high tax rate but import turnover decreased. 

Revenue of many items decreased from a few hundred to thousands of billion VND, such as: revenue of cars with less than 9 seats reduced by about VND2,100 billion; iron and steel products decreased by VND1,600 billion; other means of transport and imported spare parts reduced about VND500 billion; jet fuel reduced by VND300 billion. Therefore, the increased tax does not compensate for the reduced tax that has a direct impact on the department revenue compared to 2019.

In the first quarter of 2020, the actual revenue of the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department reached VND24,365.6 billion (excluding tax refund of VND453 billion), equal to 21.18% of the estimate (VND115,000 billion) and reached 20.13% of targets (VND121,000 billion), down 9.43% (a reduction of VND2,536 billion) compared to 2019. This is a great challenge that Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has to overcome.

According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, in April 2020, there are 20 working days, the Government issued a 15-day nationwide social distancing order, so import-export activities will be limited. The European Union, the United States, Canada, and Australia are in serious crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so Vietnam's transactions with these countries are also limited. The taxable import turnover has decreased gradually, especially jet fuel and cars with less than 9 seats. In April 2020, the estimated revenue is only about VND370 billion per day, so in April 2020 the revenue is about VND7,400 billion (the same period in April 2019 reached VND10,160 billion). Accumulated to the end of April 2020, the revenue of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department will reach about VND31,765 billion, equal to 27.62% of the estimate, down 14.1% compared to the same period in 2019 of VND36,980 billion.

By Le Thu/ Ngoc Loan