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Customs dept. stands by Click2Clear despite criticism

The Nassau Guardian

The Department of Customs yesterday stood by its newly implemented Click2Clear Bahamas Electronic Single Window System (BESW), insisting that the issues certain businesses had with the new platform have less to do with an error of the customs department and more to do with how those businesses use the interfacing system.

In recent weeks, Click2Clear has been criticized by businesses that claim the new system is causing more headaches instead of streamlining the process of clearing customs it was intended to do.

While Superintendent of Customs Jasmine Hudson, who has responsibility for information technology, admitted that there were some businesses that initially had issues with the new system, she’s certain those kinks have been ironed out.

“Initially yes, they were because the process that they were accustomed to using has changed. The system requires a lot more information than what was required prior to. So yes, it requires a little more, especially for companies that have a lot of invoice lines. That became more tedious for them, so yes it has become a little bit more complex with respect to submission,” she said.

“As far as I am aware from an IT perspective, from complaints that we have received, I can’t tell you that there was a great percentage. We’ve had one or two entities that have had some issues, yes, with respect to submitting their large entries. Those issues have since been resolved. I’m pretty much sure there aren’t any of them now that are having those issues, or any of those issues with respect to submitting to Click2Clear.”

Since the rollout of the new platform last month, businesses have complained that the process of submitting customs declarations has been more tedious and onerous than before.

Hudson said that’s because the department is no longer allowing importers to put “garbage” on their customs declaration forms.

“It does not require new information, it just requires accurate information. Prior to now a lot of persons never really paid attention to what they were putting in the system, which meant that customs was receiving garbage information, because people were just putting things in. Now this system does not allow that garbage information to be put in any longer. You have to put in correct information, the system does not allow you to put in garbage,” Hudson said.

Another complaint businesses had was in regard to the process of customs examining imported containers after payment was made, instead of the practice that was in place prior to the new system, where the examinations were completed before payment was made.

Despite complaints, Hudson said that the new process will not be changed.

“In the past companies were permitted to submit declaration prior to payment, now the government is seeing the revenue ahead of releasing, so it improves the government’s revenue intake, it improves the data intake,” she said.

“Data is something that is needed in order for finance to make decisions whenever it is time for revenue changes to be made. This information has to come in and we need to be able to submit correct data so that they can make proper decisions with respect to duty rate changes, with respect to goods being allowed into the country, what concessions would be permitted based on the amount of goods coming in. So, the data has to be accurate so that they can make better decisions with respect to those things.”

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