INDUSTRY stakeholders are demanding clear-cut rules in the accreditation mechanism for importers and brokers under the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) newly formed Interim Customs Accreditation and Registration (ICARE).
There have been complaints of a lack of proper setup in the process, which has led to cargo delays and higher overheads. The absence of ICARE accreditation means an importer or broker cannot transact business with the BOC.
“We noticed there are only two people who do the receiving (of applications/renewals), sometimes only one at the counter after which they just stack our (application) folder under the counter,” Egay Ilejay, sales manager World Cargo Container Inc, told PortCalls.
“They (ICARE) cannot say or assure us what would be the next thing to be done with regards to our application,” he said, adding nor was there a time frame offered for release of papers.
“We want BOC to come up with a refined procedure or maybe retain the status quo until such time they can devise a plan to facilitate the filing and release of applications,” Ilejay said.
At the moment, ICARE has no staff of its own aside from its chief Atty Rhea Gregorio and assistant chief Atty Gerard Toriano.
ICARE replaced the Customs Accreditation Secretariat (CAS), which is widely seen as having failed to protect the integrity of the BOC accreditation mechanism.
Purging questionable list
ICARE’s main task is to purge bogus companies from the master list of accredited importers and brokers and ensure the new registrants satisfy the fundamental requirements for accreditation.
Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez earlier said as much as 20% of the more than 9,000 importers and brokers given accreditation by the defunct CAS were bogus entities used by big-time financiers as fronts for their smuggling activities.
ICARE was created under Customs Memorandum Order 30-2010 dated August 12, 2010 and is under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioner for Assessment and Operations.