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DOF backs customs upgrade

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III yesterday highlighted the importance of modernizing customs processes and aligning them with counterparts overseas in supporting economic recovery.

In his speech during the virtual launch of the World Bank-financed Philippine Customs Modernization Project, Dominguez said streamlining and upgrading the Bureau of Customs’ processes through the use of information and communications technology would enhance the bureau’s dual goals of revenue generation and trade facilitation.

The project is targeted for partial implementation by 2023 and full implementation by 2024, with the help of other government agencies that benefit from BOC services.

“There is no room to fail,” he said.

The World Bank is providing a loan of USD82 million for the project, which is about 84.5 percent of the total cost. The Philippine government will shoulder the balance.

Dominguez noted that once fully operational, the project is expected to result in “more efficient port operations, dramatic gains in reducing corruption in the agency, and a major increase in our trade volumes.”

“The project will allow us to be at the cutting edge in the application of new technologies to achieve the best revenue performance. All these will support the sustainable and long-term growth of our economy,” he said.

Dominguez said yesterday’s launch of the project “is very timely” because it would help increase government revenues needed to finance social protection and economic programs aimed at addressing the impact of the pandemic.

“A highly efficient Bureau of Customs, therefore, is critical to help us recover strongly from this pandemic and build back the best possible future for our people,” he said.*PNA

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