Transactions from the comfort of home
“ People used to wait for hours and maybe days to get their transactions done at the port of Beirut, the airport and the border offices, however with the UNDP project at the customs, the stakeholders now have the luxury of completing their transactions from their living room” explained Mr. Wassim Khawand, Customs Component Manager of the “Technical Assistance for Fiscal Management and Reform” UNDP project at the Ministry of Finance.
The UNDP project was launched in 1993 including the customs component. The project has since evolved to include other directorates of the Ministry such as cadastre, the economic unit and the taxes department. The reforms implemented at the customs administration remains one of the most successful examples, as throughout the years it resulted in changes at the strategic and policy levels.
efficient control of the goods
- creating computerized registers for all the regions, offices and departments of the customs, contributing to a larger and more efficient control of the goods circulation
In Lebanon, each customs office used to have registers related to its proper transactions; there were no form of unification/centralization among the different regions and departments inside the customs administration. Therefore, there was no solid control over the transactions. The UNDP project succeeded in creating computerized registers for all the regions, offices and departments of the customs, contributing to a larger and more efficient control of the goods circulation and thus, the illicit work and transactions could be better controlled and the illegal activities will be diminished.
The computerization of the customs departments benefited the beneficiaries and the customs in the same time. Previously, beneficiaries, were required to attend to the customs offices and given the large number of transactions, together with the limited capacities and resources, resulted in the fact that any operation might have taken hours and even days to be completed. Nowadays, with the project’s intervention, and the implementation of Asycuda World, not only does the long waiting hours no longer exist but more importantly the beneficiaries are not even required to show-up in person at some departments because the related applications are published and can be completed instantly through the internet.
The impact of the project on the affairs of the state is highlighted by the implementation of bar codes and an encrypted number for critical documents to secure the merchandise entering or leaving the country.
Finally, the project helped the customs and the state in general to put a term and to strengthen their grip on smuggling issues as well as accelerating and facilitating the Customs operations.