New customs reforms are insufficient, businesses say

28-Aug-2014 Intellasia | Vietnamnet | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Taxation and customs agencies have begun to streamline administrative procedures but businesses say they have not enjoyed the benefits of such action.

The prime minister has issued an instruction requesting that taxation, customs and social insurance agencies to reduce by half number of hours that businesses have to spend on certain administrative procedures by December 31.

The total time businesses have to spend on the procedures, according to the World Bank, is 872 hours a year.

The prime minister has also decided that by September 30, 2015, the number of hours would be reduced to 171 hours, equal to the Asean-6′s average figure.

Taxation and customs units have geared up to carry out the instruction, but as deputy minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan has said, the reforms carried so far are not enough to improve the business environment.

“Businesses now are allowed to get e-customs clearances. However, when carrying goods by land, they will be asked by the market management task force to show paper documents,” Tuan said.

Therefore, businesses still have to print documents to show to state management agencies when necessary, even though they have been encouraged to get e-customs clearances.

According to Tuan, customs agencies have been applying the e-customs mechanism since July 20 at 34 agencies and 170 border gates throughout the country.

Businesses now do not have to show as many kinds of documents as they did in the past. Customs officers will have to search for information about businesses on their database, if they need more information about businesses.

The Customs Law clearly stipulates that businesses with green cards (which have good tax payment profiles) can get customs clearance within five minutes, while businesses with yellow cards can get goods cleared within one hour, and businesses with red cards, which have to have goods examined by customs officers, will be cleared within a maximum of 10 hours.

To date, 38,000 businesses have joined the e-customs clearances.

However, a businessperson, who asked to be anonymous, said the reform of the customs procedures is just a “pill to cure an earthquake”.

“The goods verification is still being done manually. This means that customs officers have to climb into trucks to take goods samples, and then bring the samples to Hanoi for inspection,” he said.

“It is really time-consuming,” he commented. “It takes businesses two to three days to receive the notices about the goods examination, which is too long for food companies”.

Tuan of MOF said the ministry has talked about various solutions with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Imports and exports with high turnover that go through the five most important cross-border trade points will be examined right at the border gates before they get customs clearances.

In 2013, Vietnam’s total import and export turnover was $264 billion, while there were 5.7 million customs-declaration papers for 5.7 million consignments of goods.


Category: Economy

Print This Post

Comments are closed.