Held annually on January 26, International Customs Day (ICD) recognizes the role of customs officials and agencies in maintaining border security.
The JIC celebration is a unique opportunity for members of the World Customs Organization (WCO), including the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), the WCO Secretariat and global Customs partners to reflect to a particular topic and to act accordingly.
The WCO is dedicating 2022 to the theme “Scaling up the digital transformation of Customs by embracing a data culture and creating a data ecosystem”.
One of the most powerful tools available to Customs to reconcile the functions of controlling the international movement of goods with the needs of trade facilitation is represented by data collection and analysis techniques.
If properly used, they can enable Customs to act in a targeted manner to achieve its corporate objectives more effectively. Customs authorities can improve the effectiveness of controls and their overall performance not only by analyzing the historical activity of operators and the number of past problems detected, but also by using additional sources of information, both internal and external to the customs. ‘administration.
According to the WCO, Customs data is intrinsically linked to the functioning of Customs; the data is used to formulate strategies, improve the quality of enforcement and revenue collection, optimize the allocation of resources in the field and measure the performance of customs units.
The FRCS, as a member of the WCO, has joined the global Customs community in commemorating the JIC.
To mark the day, FRCS has officially launched the Air Cargo Screening Unit in Nadi which has been established within the Container Screening Program (CCP) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the WCO. Further assistance was provided by the Australian Border Force (ABF).
Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU)
The Air Cargo Control Unit is responsible for profiling air cargo shipments to prevent the exploitation of the air cargo supply chain for illicit drug trafficking and the smuggling of other illegal products and banned such as precursor chemicals, weapons and ammunition, endangered species and counterfeit items. intellectual property rights while ensuring the free flow of legitimate air cargo.
In August 2020, FRCS launched the CCP and the Cargo Targeting System (CTS).
ABF has partnered with UNODC and WCO to implement the Container Screening Program and Cargo Targeting System in Fiji – a system funded by Australia under the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership . Since the launch of the UNODC/WCO CCP in Fiji, the FRCS has established a dedicated targeting team, namely the National Border Control Targeting Center (NBCTC).
In January 2021, an Air Cargo Screening Unit was also established in Nadi under the NBCTC.
This unit is made up of risk analysts who work closely with front-line inspection officers in their role of mitigating threats at the border.
WCO, UNODC and ABF teams have provided a number of training and mentoring opportunities to this unit and FRCS inspection teams.
The Australian Government also contributed ICT equipment to support the FRCS with sea and air cargo targeting capabilities, which significantly improved the unit’s ability to have real-time access to advanced critical information and systems. on freight.
Since the inception of the NBCTC, there have been many successful interceptions and an increase in the number of detections related to tax evasion resulting in financial penalties which support Fiji’s economy.
The FRCS would like to thank the WCO, UNODC and ABF for their continued financial and technical support towards capacity and capacity development in Fiji and the Pacific region.
The launch of ACCU in Nadi is an excellent example of the work we have done in this area and an example of customs-to-customs cooperation in our region.
According to FRCS Managing Director, Mark Dixon, in line with the ICD theme, FRCS will implement several initiatives to improve its technological advancement, greater efficiency, more security and transparency, and higher performance standards.
“Among other initiatives, we will also review the customs IT environment, including ASYCUDA World.
“The FRCS also plans to implement the One Stop Shop system in Fiji in the coming years, which will allow border agencies and traders to file and view the necessary documents for entry, clearance and release. of their goods from one convenient location.
“This will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of trade facilitation agencies,” Mr. Dixon said.
Fifteen border agents and partners received the prestigious Certificate of Merit on behalf of the WCO in recognition of their achievements and commitment to the theme of JIC 2022.
International Customs Day was celebrated in Suva as well as Nadi, Lautoka, Savusavu and Levuka observing all COVID-19 protocols including social distancing and minimal in-person attendance.
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