Pakistan Customs launches swift consignment clearance system to improve ease of doing business

KARACHI: Pakistan Customs on Monday launched the swift consignment clearance software for improving ease of doing business and trading across the border indices of the country.

The system namely ‘WeBOC Global’ was inaugurated by Member Customs Dr Jawwad Uwais Agha at Custom house, Karachi.

He introduced the key features of the newly developed ICT system which was attended by a large number of the senior officers of Pakistan Custom and members of the WeBOC-Glo Project team.

The new version of Customs clearance system was deployed at early in the morning May 13, 2019 which has immediately replaced the previous version of WeBOC clearance system.

This will be a modern and technologically advanced version of WeBOC which is an end to end automated online goods clearance system home grown by Pakistan Customs in 2011.

With the introduction of new WeBOC system, the Custom clearance system of Pakistan will enter into the club of modern, upgraded and technologically advanced Custom clearance system of the world, the Member said.

The WeBOC-Glo in addition to new modules and functionalities will be plugging the deficiencies of earlier clearance system pointed out during the course of time in internal reviews and ICT Gap Analysis by the World Bank.

Components of Release 1.0 of the WeBOC-Glo were introduced by Iftikhar Ahmad, Collector/Convener of the project which included 13 modules and functionalities.

The major modules included:

(1) the Development of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with Terminal Operators for Export LCL Cargo, which will reduce dwell time at ports

(2) the Quota Management of Bulk Export Cargo, which will facilitate auto debiting of assigned quota,

(3) the establishment of IT interface with Ministry of Foreign Affairs for automation of Exemption Certificates,

(4) the availability of WeBOC Glo on Chrome and Edge to provide convenience to users,

(5) the enhanced Security Features, to safeguard the User IDs and relevant data of importers /exporters,

(6) the unified Screens for MIS Officers, to ensure speedy processing,

(7) the search engine for TARIFF and relevant SROs to empower users in Tariff and import/export policy information for correct filling and assessment of GDs,

(8) the update on Containers Status, to allow traders the facility to keep track of containers,

(9) Improved User Interface, aimed at making the system more user friendly and less time consuming and

(10) the Glo Insight which strengthens the statistical Scrutiny and monitoring of Customs transactions through business intelligence and data analysis tools for informed decisions making.

In addition to above, the WeBOC-Glo will be instrumental in closure of old Customs clearance system by automating areas that had remained outside its scope so far.

(1) the Export Processing Zone, whose import and export clearance along with the role and functions of EPZA have been automated for the first time,

(2) the GD Filing Without NTN, which will facilitate individual importers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) promoting e-Commerce in Pakistan,

(3) the Exceptional GD Filing, which caters to all scenarios where auto clearance were held up due to peculiar taxation regimes on items or specific orders of superior courts.
The team has been further instructed by Dr Agha to plan launch of Release-2of WeBOC Glo by the first week of July, 2019.

The Release-2 will include further important modules like DTRE, Bulk Exports and Exports through Courier.

With the development of these modules all the processes related to export will be fully automated which will definitely facilitate export sectors.

Release-2 will also include E-Auction Module, for auction of confiscated goods in line with modern concepts of Auction.

Oil imports contribute the major share in Imports Bill. All the processes like Import, storage, transportation and transit of Oil will also be covered in Release-2 Similarly PCA Entity based Audit module will also be part of it, which will dramatically enhance money trial analysis and be handy in detection of money laundering.

Initial work has already been done on these modules and they are under different stages of development.

Some less important modules will be launched in Release-3 by Mid September which will complete automation of all the Customs processes under WeBOC-Glo.

Earlier, Dr Jawwad Agha conceived the idea of up gradation and functionally advanced new Customs system and had put in place a two tier setup, the WeBOC-Glo Domain team and Oversight and Approval Team, in December, 2018.

In view of highly technical nature of the task officers having vast professional experience and well grounded in automated work environment were grouped together.

The team lead by Collector Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad (project team leader) included: Additional Collectors Shafqat Niazi, Sanaullah Abro, Ms Mona Mehfooz, Ali Zaman Gardezi and Deputy Collector Ms Nausheen Riaz Khan.

The project team leader said that packed and strict timeline was given to undertake the Businesses Process Re-Engineering (BPR), development of new modules and functionalities of the WeBOC Glo.

He added that the project team had to put in long hours on weekend, over and above their regular work assignments, to meet the deadlines, while Agha continuously monitored the progress and provided his full support to project team. Within short time of four months, WeBOC-Glo project team under guidance of oversight and Approval team, consisting of senior officers of Customs succeeded in accomplishing the task of development of 13 different modules and functionalities of new version.

User Acceptance Tests (UATs) with relevant stakeholders have been completed too. The PRAL’s Business Analysis and software Development Units provided able resource support and remained instrumental in the achievement.

With the launch of the WeBOC-Glo, the Customs department moves further ahead as the leading public sector organization mag use of modern technology for hassle free public service delivery.

The system ensures transparency, efficiency, professionalism and further reduces the interaction with taxpayer besides providing tech ability for future integration with artificial intelligence for RMS analysis.

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