Project to Improve Tariffs Services Launched [Archives:2001/15/Business & Economy]

April 9 2001

Customs Authority has sought to improve the level of customs performance in all of the outlets of Yemen. This is to be carried out through a project funded by the United Kingdom at the cost of £1.4 million. The project is technically supported by the UNDP, UNCTAD and DFID, a delegation of which confirmed its support to make the project a success.
To modernize the Yemeni customs offices, the authorities intend to install the Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) with the objective of treating the customs data automatically. This will create the conducive atmosphere for the private sector to trust the tariffs’ procedures and enable the customs authority to provide services and swift trade facilities.
In the Customs Authority meeting with representatives from the IMF, UNDP and UK, plans and procedures necessary to address the hurdles facing the project were reviewed.
Addressing Tariffs Problems:
Tariffs’ resources indicated that Yemen’s application of Asycuda will help to overcome the tariffs’ problems including the weakness of customs clearance procedures, slow pace of revenue collection, difficult access to precise statistics and administrative and technical burdens on the trade community.
This trend comes within the framework of the financial reforms the Yemeni government is implementing to improve and develop customs and increase public revenues.
The system’s Features:
The system is automatically operated and is carried out by the UNCTAD in more than 70 countries. It is run through programs independent from the centralized storing systems and from the administrative data. It works without the use of telecommunication network with the facility to use international trade information through agreed upon symbols.
Project Stages:
Since 1999, UNCTAD delegations started coordinating with Yemeni Customs Authority to implement the project in stages. The Authority chose three tariff outlets last year, Sana’a airport, Hodeidah port, Haradh land passageway, on the borders with Saudi Arabia.
Though steps taken last year were faced by financial problems and inefficiently qualified cadre for handling the system, preparations are still in full swing to carry out the project in the stated outlets. Later, the project will be generalized in all Yemeni customs outlets.
Specialized experts from UNCTAD, the Customs Authority and computer experts are participating in administrating the project.
Yemeni merchants have given a call for cancelling the deposit revenues collecting system in which the importer has to pay 2% of the withholding taxes of the goods in the local markets.
Therefore, carrying out Asycuda in Yemen should be associated with taking administrative measures to reform the imbalance in the revenue collecting bodies, and qualifying employees in the customs authority to be able to prepare the necessary commercial statistics more efficiently and swiftly. Above all, the different customs tariffs and restrictions of double taxation on the same product should be eliminated.