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Customs 'Learning Curve A Bit Steeper Than We Thought'

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The deputy prime minister yesterday admitted that Customs' new system had required "a steeper learning curve than expected" as he pledged to work with the private sector to resolve all woes.

Acknowledging "challenges" with the Click2Clear electronic single window (BESW) clearance system, K Peter Turnquest vowed to "work with" brokers and importers to adapt their systems to the new processes.

Responding to criticisms of Click2Clear programme outside Cabinet, Mr Turnquest said: "The Click2Clear is a little bit of a challenge for us; I think more so from perception than a reality in a lot of circumstances. Because the fact of the matter is it is a new programme. There is a steep learning curve; a little steeper than we had anticipated, I think we would have to admit that."

Some brokers have suggested that Bahamians were not properly educated on how the clearance process has in effect been reversed, with others arguing that the former Electronic Customs Automated Services (eCAS) system for goods clearance worked better for them. They also questioned if Click2Clear will stop the revenue leakages at Customs and increase efficiency.

Mr Turnquest, though, said: "We are doing our best to try and support all of the brokers, and support all of the importers to get up and going and work out what the bugs and bottlenecks may be as quickly as possible."

Some brokers have also told Tribune Business that portions of the Click2Clear system are redundant, as they ask for information that has already been supplied. Others told Tribune Business that filling out the new system takes up too much time, adding some two-and-a-half hours to what they would normally have done through the former eCAS process.

Mr Turnquest added: "We acknowledge the challenges. We recognise that on our side of the fence there are some issues that we have had to work through as well as working with the importers and the brokers on their side to adapt their systems so that they can take advantage of the technology that is provided by the new system."

A November 8, 2019, letter sent by Christina Taylor, general manager at Pinder's Customs Brokerage, to the firm's clients details the specific challenges all brokers and importers have had with the new Customs system.

"One of the largest proposed benefits of clearance on ESW was that the process would be automated," the letter, seen by Tribune Business, states. "It was stressed to us repeatedly in the training sessions with Customs that once taxes were paid for a declaration, shipments would be (essentially) instantly released, so that goods could be picked up and delivered very shortly after payment.

"It was stated that the process we used to call entry checking would occur as post-auditing - officers would do their checking/auditing of declarations days/weeks after a declaration had been paid/released/delivered. This is not what is happening so far."

Comments

Sickened 7 months, 1 week ago

Learning curve??? Civil servants and their D average face a learning wall. And the wall is 500 miles high and on fire. They dare not even attempt to touch it let alone try to climb it.

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birdiestrachan 7 months, 1 week ago

It is TRUE. Turnquest them do not know what they are doing.

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TalRussell 7 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, no. Of course, eventually even the Imperialists red shirts governing politicians runs out others and outside forces to blame for their serial governing blunders - forcing them no other option than to turn to blame it on the Learning Curve .... but they never bothered told voters to elect them be running the colony's government on training wheels ... You just can't make this Learning Curve up, you just, cant,

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The_Oracle 7 months, 1 week ago

Whether PLP or FNM, you still have a certain lack of comprehension within the ranks of the Civil service. Not their fault. For 40 plus years they have been taught not why they do what they do, but just do as I (inset minister of the day here) So irrespective of the National d- average, they have been dumbed down via habit and practice. The issue with this is the level of competency has now dropped far below barely functional levels. Irrespective of our Ease of doing business ranking ( at 119 of whatever it is) So it ain't Turnquest, it is the lack of tools he has to work with.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

"it ain't Turnquest, it is the lack of tools he has to work with"

It's both. if Turnquest were operating like any good manager, on migration day he would have reviewed a series of tests performed by the test group made up of private and public stakeholders they'd organized from the project start. Tests including functionality for manual and automated submissions. He would have then had a meeting with senior managers to review test results and determine if the system was in a state to move forward. Since it clearly was not, it was then his decision to cancel the move and revert to the old system.

The problem is none of these guys know how to handle things systematically, including Minnis and Turnquest. Or if they do, they're not speaking up, not being listened or being shouted down by bigger voices for example DAguilar who openly said "what's the need for all this planning? Just go and do stuff"

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Hoda 7 months, 1 week ago

People need to admit and recognize a lot of these civil servants are not up to par. I get your point about management. But, at some point all employees have to be able to work independently and produce. Dont forget we are on strike because we believe we should be entitled to raises that are not performance based!

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

Actually I think the bigger problem is the govt is rushing various initiatives in search of PR wins, theyre not giving time for operations to be thoroughly planned. You see this everywhere. The sloppy Frank Smith and Shane Gibson cases, Oban, UB free tuition, the snail crawl SBDC, the Ministry of Disaster Recovery and now Customs.

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SP 7 months, 1 week ago

Near absolute gridlock with Customs clearance for courier packages and incoming freight. To add insult to injury, Customs officers are having a wonderful time using the badly broken system to find more ways of denying entries for petty, nonsensical reasons!

At the end of the day, there is no indication the click2clear system will have any impact on the 40%+ pilferage and leakage by Customs officers. So the whole thing is a useless, non-starter from the very beginning.

The public paid for yet more red tape in a system that was already a pain to deal with. Which genius suggested this was a good idea in the first place??

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proudloudandfnm 7 months, 1 week ago

It was a complete waste of money and time. Just throw it in the garbage and let's get on with ELIMINATING DUTY.....

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