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HCM City Customs proposes to increase officers to clear import and export goods

10:05 | 11/09/2021

VCN - HCM City Customs Department proposed to increase officers at key stages to conduct customs clearance for enterprises.

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Goods imported through Cat Lai port are cleared by Customs in a timely manner. Photo: L.Linh
Goods imported through Cat Lai port are cleared by Customs in a timely manner. Photo: L.Linh

The HCM City Customs Department said during the social distancing period in Ho Chi Minh City, the unit strictly followed the directive documents of the leaders of Ho Chi Minh City. However, the arrangement of customs officers to work at the head office during the strict measures in Ho Chi Minh City encountered many difficulties, affecting the performance of tasks.

According to Article 22 of the Customs Law: customs checkpoints are the place where the customs authority receive, register and check customs dossiers, and conduct physical inspection of goods and vehicles.

Places where customs documents are received, registered and examined are head offices of Customs Departments or Customs branches.

Places of physical inspection of goods include: Places of inspection at the land border checkpoints, international railway stations, international civil airports; international post offices; seaports and inland waterway ports where import, export, exit, entry and transit operation are carried out; inland ports of importation or exportation of goods; and head offices of Customs branches.

Under the above regulations, the arrangement for customs officers to use information technology applications to work from home to perform customs clearance tasks (receiving, registering, checking customs dossiers and inspecting goods) is in contravention of the prevailing customs law.

In addition, the HCM City Customs Department has to process a huge workload. Regarding the budget collection alone, the department had to collected VND362 billion per working day on average from August 23 to August 31, 2021.

In addition, customs officers have to quickly perform the task of receiving and handling customs procedures for hundreds of shipments of imported medical equipment, drugs, biological products, and vaccines to serve the prevention and control of Covid-19 in Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces.

For these items, the department has established two working groups in charge of fast customs clearance and preventing cargo congestion at the border gate. Those who are in charge of these tasks must be on duty 24/7 to quickly clear these particular goods.

In addition, the department has also conducted customs clearance for goods of the type: border gate transfer, declarations opened at other local customs departments, goods in transit and export agricultural products, processed goods for export, etc. In the past two national holidays alone, the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch cleared 637 export declarations with a turnover of over US$43 million.

The customs official said the number of businesses and declarations carrying out customs procedures at border-gate customs units under the HCM City Customs Department is now very high.

With the regulation of maximum of 10% customs officers working at the head officer under the request by the People’s Committee of the Ho Chi Minh City, the number cannot ensure customs clearance time of goods and cannot settle all the declarations arising in a day. Thus, it is difficult to control smuggling, trade fraud, and drug trafficking according to regulations.

HCM City Customs sets up rapid response team to assist customs officers affected by Covid-19 HCM City Customs sets up rapid response team to assist customs officers affected by Covid-19

To ensure the flow of import and export goods, support enterprises, not to disrupt the supply chain; complete the state budget collection task, based on the directions of the Government, the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City and work practices, the department proposes that the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City grants 187 more travel permits to customs officers in charge of five specific tasks including: officers in customs clearance at four customs branches with large volumes of important import-export goods and essential goods; officers in quick response teams; officers in the team to prevent cargo congestion at the port border gate; and officers in the Anti-Drug Team and officers operating the information technology system and conducting online supervision.

As of September 6, 2021, nearly 1,500 officials, civil servants and employees of the HCM City Customs Department have completed the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, accounting for over 85% of human resources. The time after vaccination with the second dose has reached 14 days to produce antibodies according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang