Customs Officers Juliette O’Dean and Rosemond Fowler recently undertook four weeks of training in St Lucia to gain a greater understanding on the implementation of St Helena’s first Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA World).
This web based system will set a platform for e-Government and will improve trade facilitation and avoid delays. Significant improvements will become evident in the future in terms of faster and more streamlined clearance of goods processes, better accounting and statistical capabilities and a paperless system.
Juliette and Head of Information Technology, Jeremy Roberts, had previously undergone initial training in Geneva to ensure that the system was appropriate and could be installed on St Helena, and to undergo initial implementation training. The most recent training has now enabled Juliette and Rosemond to see ASYCUDA in practical real-time operation and learn about the different features of the system, especially the International Harmonised System Codes, risk management, rates and rules.
“The training in St Lucia was very productive and involved both practical and theory – with the focus on understanding the International Harmonised System Codes and other operational features. Currently on St Helena, we use SITC Codes (Standard International Trade Classification Codes) which are not compatible with full implementation of ASYCUDA World. This training has enabled us to learn and understand these new codes and implement them in ASYCUDA World here on St Helena. All Customs staff and relevant stakeholders will now be trained on how to classify goods through classroom sessions.”
The ASYCUDA World system will now be fully implemented on St Helena – firstly with the online manifest submission procedure to be used by carriers and others. The next stage will involve putting in place the declaration module, which involves the new international harmonised codes, selectivity and the rates and rules. This phase will affect major stakeholders and importers.
There are significant benefits for traders and the public, including online trade input, fair trade practices, real time statistics, faster clearance and simplified procedures.
“Stakeholders are aware of the benefits of ASYCUDA World and have been open-minded and optimistic. Change is always difficult, but we hope to make this transition as smooth as possible. It is important that we make the system as user-friendly as possible, adapted to our environment here on the Island.”
Juliette and Rosemond would like to thank their colleagues in Customs and SHG for enabling this training, and the St Lucia Customs team who were very welcoming and helped establish a positive, professional link between the two Islands.
The system to be used on St Helena is the most up to date version, developed by a dedicated team from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It can be found in over 100 jurisdictions worldwide.
19 January 2015