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Supplements Print 2024-01-27

Pakistan Customs engaging other partners - A framework for collaborative governance

Dr Amna Naeem, Additional Collector JIAP, (Karachi) The World Customs Organization (WCO), established on January 26...
Published January 27, 2024

Dr Amna Naeem, Additional Collector JIAP, (Karachi)

The World Customs Organization (WCO), established on January 26 1952, as Customs Cooperation Council, is an independent inter-governmental body withthe mission to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of 185 representative Customs administrations that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ian Saunders, has shown commitment to provide leadership and executive management of the priorities of Customs community at global level, including developing global Customs instruments, standards and tools, securing and facilitating global trade, protecting revenue collection, building Customs-business partnerships and delivering capacity building in support of Customs reforms and modernization.

At the 89th WCO Policy Commission session held in Venice, he highlighted the evolving role of Customs professionals in an automated world and advocated for customer-centric approaches and the use of data, artificial intelligence and technology for efficient and effective Customs operations.

With this forward-looking motive in mind, the WCO’s theme for 2024 was launched by Secretary General as “Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners with Purpose”.

It is a call to the WCO Members to reassess their engagement strategies, both by deepening their existing alliances and by forging new partnerships in the ever-evolving global landscape. WCO has emphasized on following Key Calls to Action: Enhance Engagement with Traditional Partners, Forge New Partnerships, Collaborate with Purpose, Increase Diversity and Inclusivity in Engagements, Assess Impact and Adjust Strategies, and Leverage Technology and Data.

Pakistan Customs has played a pivotal role in the development of sustainable economy besides its regular function of revenue collection. There has been a paradigm shift towards enforcement functions emerging as a major challenge with clear targets.

Besides automation and bringing all the stakeholders under one roof by implementing Pakistan National Single Window-PSW, supporting the WCO’s concept of facilitating the global transition to green trade and reducing its own environmental footprint, the establishment of the National Targeting Centre-NTS and creation of more Directorates and Enforcement Collectorates are also steps towards collaborative governance.

This uphill task needs support from the internal as well as external partners as Pakistan Customs cannot act alone without taking into account the interests of its partners.

Therefore, Customs Organization has taken up collaborative efforts with other partners to develop consultation, promote information exchange and cooperation and reduce the barriers to facilitate smooth flow of trade by jointly identifying bottlenecks and offering solutions.

Pakistan Customs as an organization has also taken major steps towards its restructuring with the support of World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

World Bank’s initiative to support Pakistan Customs under the Pakistan Raises Revenue Program is one of the examples of external cooperation to make Pakistan Customs a modern and much more efficient organization.

There are various capacity building programmes which are being run with the support of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) US Embassy, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan and World Customs Organization under the CECAC Project which are some of the examples through which Pakistan Customs is getting support for capacity building of not only Mid-level senior officers but also the operational officers to perform their duties in a more professional manner.

Pakistan Customs through its flagship initiative of Pakistan National Single Window has integrated and automated more than 70 various external stake holders to join hands and make the clearance process not only transparent but efficient by eliminating paper based manual processes and achieving digital transformation.

Pakistan Customs has also engaged its aviation carriers through ICAO and taken a giant leap in connecting the airline data through GTAS and advance passenger information (API) to profile high risk passengers arriving or departing Pakistan.

Integration of IBMS and CDS data with the internal partners is also a value addition to the existing network.

Pakistan Customs is also working in close coordination with National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) where cases of seizures of currency and gold smuggling are taken up to probe aspects of terror financing and money laundering.

Needless to say, Pakistan Customs is committed to maintain international standards, foster mutual cooperation with other stake holders to facilitate legitimate trade, secure a fair revenue collection and protect the society in line with WCO mission.

Pakistan Customs is actively collaborating with both long-standing partners and emerging allies, incorporating innovation and purposeful engagement to counter the expected challenges and seize future opportunities.

It realizes the significance of adaptability and inclusivity in customs practices in the backdrop of ever-changing scenario of international trade and the commitment to creating a more purpose-driven, efficient, and inter connected global trade environment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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