Customs admits teething problems with new clearance system

Import_Export_0By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — Customs officials say they are working to address problems associated with the introduction of an automated clearance system last month following complaints from traders.

The Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance System (MACCS) was launched on November 12 with support from Japan in an effort to promote trade through more efficient processes.

But it has drawn complaints from exporters and importers, who say it is slower than the previous manual system.

Customs Department deputy director general U San Lwin on Wednesday acknowledged there had been some teething problems but insisted that once these were overcome traders would benefit from faster processing.

He added that the problems – which include server outages, a lack of familiarity with the software and slow internet connection – are being tackled in cooperation with Japanese experts.

“We confess that users are facing some difficulties with this system,” he said. “We are also having some troubles in our department with both the technology and human resources.”

He added that the cargo clearance system was being used in 14 areas in Yangon, including international ports, Yangon International Airport and Thilawa Special Economic Zone. The department plans to roll it out to land borders from 2018, with a survey at the Myawaddy border crossing expected to take place next year.

Customs director U Win Thant said the growth in international trade meant Myanmar needed to make the jump from a manual to automated processing. He urged traders to support the ministry’s reform efforts.

“We think this system is just what Myanmar needs and we hope that the people who have concerns can participate with us to make it a success,” he said.

The MACCS project is funded by the Japanese government and got underway in 2013.

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