Mobilizing resources to accomplish digital transformation of the Customs sector´╗┐

Digital transformation is one of the key tasks in the application of information technology of the Customs sector in 2022 and the coming years. Customs News spoke with Director of Customs IT and Statistics Department Le Duc Thanh about this important task.

Why is digital transformation required in the current context?

The application of IT of the Customs sector has gained major achievements, contributing to trade facilitation and improving the efficiency of customs control, which is appreciated by the business community, people and state management agencies.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs was awarded the Outstanding Digital Transformation State Agency in 2019 by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA).

The General Department of Vietnam Customs has drastically performed work related to digital transformation to meet development requirements in the new period and in line with the digital transformation policy and plan of the Government and the Ministry of Finance, technology application of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the development trend of Customs administrations of developed countries around the world and the digital customs model launched by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

An agency or organization can implement digital transformation through the use of available resources and technical systems to digitize all its information assets, restructure operational processes and organizational structure and transform operations from the traditional to the digital environment.

People are the center of digital transformation. Smart mobile devices are the main means of people in the digital world. Institutions and technology are the drivers of digital transformation.

In addition, the development of a digital platform is a breakthrough solution to promote faster digital transformation, reduce costs, and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of customs control.

Network safety is the key task to accomplish digital transformation.

What is the goal of the digital transformation of the Customs sector?

WCO selected 2022 as the year to promote Customs digital transformation. To meet requirements on digital transformation under goals set out in the Government Decision 749/QD-TTg dated June 3, 2020, the Customs sector strives to develop Digital Customs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations with expected goals as follows:

The sector completes the construction of IT systems meeting the requirements of implementing Digital Customs. Accordingly, the whole customs process for imports, exports and means of transport on exit and entry will be controlled by the digital technology platform.

The IT system will be developed in the direction of centralized processing, meeting the requirements of expanding the National Single Window, ASEAN Single Window and International Single Window, connecting and exchanging information between Customs and related ministries, government agencies and parties participating in the trade supply chain.

100% of administrative procedures with high demand for use are provided online at level 4 and performed on various devices. Customs will perform services 24/7 and service online at any time. The online public services at level 4 are consistent with the National Public Service Portal and integrated into the National Public Service Portal.

100% of administrative procedures for licensing, specialized inspection for export, import and transit goods are carried out via the National Single Window.

95% of customs documents are converted into electronic data, towards digitization.

100% of eligible administrative procedures are processed online at level 4.

100% of online public services are designed and redesigned, which allows users to use pre-filled data.

What are the solutions to achieve these goals?

To fulfill the task of the digital transformation, the Customs sector faces a heavy workload. The sector must continue to improve the legal framework, enhance the quality of digital infrastructure, improve IT platforms, databases, applications and services, protect information security and develop human resources.

Promote communication, raise awareness and digital skills, enhance interaction with people and businesses; accelerate the research and mastery of core technologies of the Industrial Revolution 4.0; attract information technology resources; and provide financial solutions.

In addition, we must expedite cooperation, share experiences and strengthen international cooperation, learn from the experience of customs administrations of advanced countries to promote the application of technological solutions in the execution of Customs information technology systems.

The GDVC administers and manages the implementation of the digital transformation plan in accordance with the approved plan.

Strengthen coordination with state management agencies and relevant organizations to effectively implement Customs IT application; regularly and periodically check and evaluate the performance of digital transformation and shortcomings to provide timely solutions.

The successful implementation of information technology (IT) services outsourcing is an important driving force for building a smart customs management model.

Application of the most advanced technology

Deputy Director of the Customs Management and Supervision Department Dao Duy Tam said, based on the assessment of the current situation of the Customs sector and the development trend of Customs around the world, the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) has built the digital customs model. The GDVC has seriously followed Decision 97 of the Ministry of Finance dated January 26, 2021 on hiring IT services to implement digital customs.

Accordingly, the IT outsourcing must be done publicly and transparently in accordance with the law and the successful implementation of IT service outsourcing is an important driving force for building a smart customs management model.

The new IT system is built on the basis of applying the most advanced technology achievements, in line with international standards and smart management requirements. It can integrate, connect and share information with ministries, government agencies and businesses and is ready to exchange customs data with countries in the region and the world.

Mr. Dao Duy Tam said the GDVC has focused on building and perfecting the requirements of customs operations and procedures to ensure that the new IT system can handle all customs operations. Through the review, the GDVC has detailed 106 operations with 15,261 functions. In the foreseeable future, the GDVC will continue to review and may add operations but add approved costs.

Regarding technical requirements for IT service outsourcing, the customs sector has developed a list of functions of nine current systems to transfer to the new system; requirements for data conversion from the current systems to the new system; technical requirements for software, hardware, technical infrastructure, information security, user support services, maintenance services; system administration and operation services and user training.

Towards a high degree of automation

The digital Customs model will have a high degree of automation and apply new and modern scientific and technological achievements on a digital and paperless platform. This model ensures transparency, fairness, effectiveness, and efficiency, predictability; adapts to fluctuations of international trade, management requirements of Customs administrations requirements on information sharing and connection with ministries and government agencies and conforms to international standards and better serves people and businesses.

The Digital Customs model will be characterized by functions of smart border management, chain management and digital ecosystems, smart connection and processing towards providing optimal services for Customs administrations and Customs declarants. This will create transparency, fairness and consistency in carrying out customs procedures for import and export goods, goods in transit, means of transport on exit, entry and in transit in order to implement administrative reform towards simplification and optimize IT application in customs processing in accordance with the standards and recommendations of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Government’s orientation on building a digital Government.

By applying new and modern scientific and technological achievements on a digital and paperless platform, the digital customs model will enhance the automatic information collection and processing on the principle of risk management to strengthen customs management for those with signs of violations and shorten the clearance time for businesses who comply with the law.

Accordingly, the digital customs model will ensure that risk management activities are closely linked with other operations in the overall process. All requirements on management, inspection and supervision are supported by risk management. This will ensure the roles and responsibilities of direct participation of customs units at all levels in identifying, assessing, handling risks and reporting on the performance.

Information and data for customs risk management will be linked from operations before, during and after customs clearance as well as data outside the customs sector to form a chain of risk management; and automatically updated and integrated and highly standardized to promote the system’s capabilities in big data analysis and artificial intelligence application for risk management.

The channelization model for inspection in customs clearance applied by many advanced countries’ customs administrations includes three classes of criteria.

In the future, the GDVC will submit the Ministry of Finance to report the Prime Minister on the implementation of IT services outsourcing to build the digital customs; review estimates of the outsourcing in according to funds approved by the Ministry of Finance.

Moreover, the GDVC will develop a specific plan for hardware systems six months after the IT outsourcing ends. Besides, the GDVC will establish a separate working group to review the process and procedures IT outsourcing to implement the digital customs; continue bidding for IT outsourcing; prepare IT infrastructure; improve legal framework and develop a modern, concentrated, processional organizational structure that reduces human intervention and can adapt to innovations.