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Lao Customs Department Extend Use Of Modern Clearance System

Source: Vientiane Times

The Customs Department will extend the use of an automated customs management system to other main customs checkpoints after optimal results were obtained from its rollout at the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane.

The Socio-Economic News yesterday reported on this plan, referring to a statement by the department’s Acting Director General, under the Ministry of Finance, Mr Bounpaseuth Sikounlabouth. Mr Bounpaseuth was quoted as saying that over a period of 11 months last year, revenue collection at the bridge using the automated system reached 6.1 trillion kip.

This was mainly sourced from levies on fuel imports, which comprised 39.8 percent of the total. Tax on imported motor vehicles accounted for 24.9 percent, while payments made on imported consumer goods comprised 12.7 percent.

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“Even though revenue collection did not reach the target set for 2019, the amount increased compared to the previous year,” Mr Bounpaseuth was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Among the reasons for the shortfall were the effects of natural disasters, the halt in imports and exports through some border crossings, financial constraints experienced by businesses, and a lack of foreign currency to purchase goods for import.

Mr Bounpaseuth also noted that about 90 percent of goods were imported under the government’s investment promotion policy, along with equipment for production purposes.

The systems used in the pilot project at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane comprised the Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda), customs clearance for vehicles (53), and the Lao National Single Window scheme, which the department will install at other international border crossings.

The Ministry of Finance has also prepared for the use of the Asean Single Window, which enables the sharing of information on the source of goods with other Asean countries, and the Customs Transit System at six main customs checkpoints.

Mr Bounpaseuth said stronger guidance from the ministry’s leaders had led to improvements in the sector responsible for suppressing smuggling, which had been backed up by the use of the modern customs clearance system.

Cooperation between the ministry, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank also led to improvements in the use of the Asycuda risk management system, and the implementation of a project titled Association for Enterprise Opportunity concerning entrepreneurship certification, according to the news report.