By Natario McKenzie
Tribune Business Reporter
CUSTOMS officials said yesterday they had reached a "major milestone" having integrated New Providence seaport to the Click2Clear Portal which will become its primary processing system on September 1.
Superintendent Tyrone Sands, underscoring the importance of this move, stated: "This is important because over 80 percent of cargo coming into The Bahamas comes through the New Providence seaport in the Click2Clear business portal. As of September 1, the legacy system known as eCas (Electronic Customs Automated Services) will not be the primary system used for Customs processing."
He added: "This new system creates a level playing field for all importers. Customs processing will be more transparent, efficient and affordable. The system allows us to move toward a cashless Customs and reduce leakage of duty and revenue collection. In October we will introduce online payment."
Crimson Logic is the technology provider for the electronic single window software.
Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson said: "One of the things that the automated system will do is allow for greater compliance. It will give us a platform to encourage greater compliance simply because it will be a lot more of a challenge to move things around without it being detected. As goods are entered into the system there is artificial intelligence built into the system that will also us to track trends automatically. We can see when there are trends that seem anomalous. We can see when there are specific vendors a group of vendors in the same sector that seem out of sync. It's a gamechanger in a lot of ways."
He continued: "Many businesses are already registered but all businesses should be registered by September 1 to ensure seamless integration. For individuals it will be September 30, so those persons who are importing should be registered."
As to who needs to register on the system Mr Johnson clarified: "If you travel abroad bringing back your own bags you don't have to be registered in the system to declare your bags coming with you. The only individuals who need to be registered are those persons who shop online or bring in goods through brokers or couriers. Bringing in something through a broker or courier you will need to be registered. We know there is some confusion regarding that."