Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC’s P5.5B modernization program closer to reality

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) hopes to implement this year the P5.5-billion modernization program proposed by the World Bank, according to BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla.

In a Viber message to PortCalls, he confirmed the project’s ad referendum approval by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board on May 27. The next step is to secure counterpart funding from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The WB will provide official development assistance of P4.61 billion for the project. Loan negotiation between the multilateral institution and the Department of Finance, BOC’s mother agency, started on May 12.

The Philippines Customs Modernization Project, which was first introduced by the WB in 2017, seeks to improve efficiency of Customs and reduce trade costs. The project was approved last March 6, 2020 by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee Cabinet Committee.

READ: $97.8M BOC modernization program gets green light

“We hope that it’s going to be fast-tracked because it encompasses a lot of essential components for our modernization projects,” Maronilla said in a Facebook online update on May 28.

According to the project’s Combined Project Information Documents/Integrated Safeguards Datasheet dated February 2020 available at the WB website, the “poor trade facilitation performance of the BOC is due to outdated infrastructure and inadequate business practices.”

It noted that challenges faced by the BOC include an outdated customs processing system; a lack of key capabilities needed for effective customs administration such as risk management, intelligence, valuation, and post clearance audit; inadequate access to and use of non-intrusive inspection technologies; a lack of performance monitoring and evaluation capabilities and inadequate operational statistics; a lack of proactive dialogue and effective coordination with stakeholders, including port operators, other border management agencies, and the private sector; and an operational environment in which almost all key customs activities are vulnerable to corruption.

The project involves three components: modernization of customs operations; organizational development; and project management and implementation support.

The modernization of customs operations component aims to improve BOC’s core Customs Processing System (CPS), related technical infrastructure, and internal capacity to enable the operation of a sophisticated information and communications technology that will enhance BOC’s operational effectiveness, integrity, accountability and organizational performance.

This component also involves enhancing fraud- and contraband-detection capabilities, eliminating waiting time for scanning, streamlining overall inspection processes, reducing time to release legitimate trade, modernizing BOC inspection processes, and improving trader perception of BOC business processes.

The organizational development component will support BOC’s move toward modern customs administration by implementing, through the CPS, updated customs procedures that will create new responsibilities for and demands on BOC’s workforce.

The third component creates a Project Management and Quality Assurance consultancy that will be working with BOC in managing the project and providing quality assurance support during project implementation.

BOC, under the supervision of DOF, will be the implementing agency, primarily responsible for project execution and ensuring project development objectives are met. BOC will have to establish a project implementation unit with the overall responsibility for project implementation.

BOC earlier said it will issue a Customs Special Order creating a Project Management Unit tasked to oversee implementation of the project and ensure its objectives, along with the specifications and standards set are met during construction, deployment and implementation. A Special Bids and Awards Committee will also be constituted for the procurement of the different components of the project.

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