The Vice-Minister of Finance, Sara Lobo Brites led the 10th ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) World Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting between the Ministry of Finance, Customs Authority Timor-Leste represented by Director-General (DG) José A. F. Abílio and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) ASYCUDA Programme for Asia via virtual means, on August 5th 2020, at the Ministry of Finance Tower at Aitarak-Laran. The meeting is a regular gathering that the Ministry of Finance holds on a quarterly basis between Customs DG and UNCTAD ASYCUDA World Project personnel to discuss project progress, and mitigating measures pertinent to successful implementation of the project and plan for the future.
During the meeting, UNCTAD ASYCUDA Programme Coordinator discussed the status of the ASYCUDA World project and National Single Window Project, and issues pertinent to the successful implementation of the project; she highlighted the fact that the ASYCUDA World project has been concluded since January 2020, and all objectives and other unplanned activities have been accomplished during the implementation of the project. She added that the final report has been submitted to Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste and that the Transfer of Title and Ownership of Equipment has been signed by all parties and the hard copy of the signed document has been sent to Timor-Leste via courier.
On National Single Window Project, UNCTAD ASYCUDA Programme Coordinator highlighted that the Customs Authority will be responsible for the management and implementation of the project. Since the signing of the project in January 2020, the first installment for the project has been transferred to UNCTAD Trust Fund, and the next activity that needs to be realized is the establishment of the National Project Team and more importantly the recruitment of the National Project Manager that falls under the government responsibility.
An Inception mission will be undertaken as soon as the current travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are lifted. The objective of this first assessment is to take stock of the current situation in Timor-Leste and to review processes of the eight (8) identified OGAs involved in Trade and of the identified country (Indonesia) from ASEAN with the view to preparing a detailed plan of action to maximizing the benefits of the TL-TSWS deployment for government and the trade community in Timor-Leste.
The other Government Agencies (OGAs) that will be involved are those with the most significant impact on Customs clearance operations, and whom once connected, should eliminate majority of bottlenecks currently faced in trade facilitation. The Eight (8) (OGAs) that has already been identified in this NSW project are: a/Trade Invest as a controlling authority for Investment Certificate to give concession for individual/company to invest in Timor; b/ Ministry of Agriculture and Fishers (Quarantine) as a controlling authority for protection of live animals and plants; c/ Ministry of Transport and Communication (National Directorate of Land Transport and Port authority (APORTIL) as licensing authority for registration of imported vehicles; d/ Ministry of Commerce and Industry as a licensing authority for certificate of origin, pre-approval license for commercial importation vehicle (less 5 years old), e/ Ministry of Interior (Immigration department) for Visa, f/ Ministry of Health as licensing authority for importation of medicines/medical equipment, g/ Tax department (TIN and SERVE) for business registration.
In closing, the UNCTAD ASYCUDA programme Coordinator highlighted the need for continuous support to the project by the government to build on gains and successes that the project is making. The Vice-Minister, Sara Lobo Brites welcomed the progress and accomplishments achieved thus far, and urged the programme coordinators to continue working in close coordination with the Ministry of Finance and Customs Authority to ensure that the objectives are achieved and that the system remains central to customs works post-project.