Traders in trou­ble

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - Ayenyein­win@mm­times.com AYE NYEIN WIN

Lo­cal ex­porters and im­porters say they are fac­ing com­puter problems in try­ing to nav­i­gate Yan­gon’s new au­to­mated cus­toms sys­tem.

EX­PORTERS and im­porters are en­coun­ter­ing is­sues with Yan­gon’s new au­to­mated cus­toms sys­tem, but are hop­ing the problems will be sorted out soon.

The cus­toms depart­ment fin­ished a trial run of the Myan­mar Au­to­mated Cargo Clear­ance Sys­tem (MACCS) on Novem­ber 3, which threw up a va­ri­ety of IT is­sues that MACCS di­rec­tor U Win Thant said the depart­ment then ad­dressed.

MACCS is de­signed to au­to­mate most of the man­ual pro­cesses in­volved in Yan­gon cus­toms, in­clud­ing reg­is­tra­tion, pay­ment of fees and tax val­u­a­tions.

The sys­tem started run­ning across ship­ping lines, air­lines and ports in Yan­gon and Thi­lawa spe­cial eco­nomic zone from Novem­ber 12. But Myan­mar’s im­port-ex­port com­mu­nity has hit sev­eral snags in us­ing the sys­tem at Yan­gon port.

U Soe Htun, chair of the Myan­mar Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Distrib­u­tors As­so­ci­a­tion, said that cus­toms staff are still get­ting to grips with the new sys­tem. He has en­coun­tered dif­fi­cul­ties with of­fi­cials un­fa­mil­iar with the new sys­tem and com­puter problems, in­clud­ing servers go­ing down, that have made it hard to send in­for­ma­tion through MACCS. “Be­cause of that it’s made it hard to [get goods through] the port,” he said.

U Aung Win, vice pres­i­dent of the Au­tho­rized Au­to­mo­bile Distrib­u­tors As­so­ci­a­tion, said that ex­porters and im­porters sim­ply needed to be pa­tient with the new sys­tem.

“The sys­tem has been very suc­cess­ful in Ja­pan,” he said. “Peo­ple just need to give it time. There are dif­fi­cul­ties in any new sys­tem dur­ing the ini­tial pe­riod. Peo­ple just need to re­alise that.”

The sys­tem was in­stalled by cus­toms ex­perts from Ja­pan and of­fi­cials from the Myan­mar cus­toms depart­ment with help from the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency.

Ko Aung Naing Tun, man­ag­ing di­rec­tion of Sakura Auc­tion Cen­ter, also took heart from the fact that the sys­tem has been tried and tested by Ja­pan.

“The aim is make things much eas­ier than the man­ual sys­tem,” he said, but added that there have been some ini­tial problems in the port.

“The in­ter­net connection [of the MACCS sys­tem] isn’t good, that’s one fac­tor,” he said. “Some of the pro­cesses jam and it’s in­con­ve­nient, but we don’t know who we should ask.”

Ko Aung Naing Tun said that the cus­toms depart­ment had urged pa­tience and tol­er­ance dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod.

“We’ll wait and see how long we have to be pa­tient for,” Ko Aung Naing Tun said.

The cus­toms depart­ment could not be reached for com­ment.

Al­though the sys­tem is only be­ing rolled out in Yan­gon and Thi­lawa there are plans to ex­tend MACCS to bor­der trade cen­tres like Myawady and Tachileik on the Thai bor­der and Muse on the bor­der with China if the sys­tem proves suc­cess­ful, U Win Thant said pre­vi­ously.

Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

A women sets up a mo­bile stall in front of cargo con­tain­ers piled at Yan­gon port.

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