The government plans to introduce a single customs form next month to reduce bureaucracy and opportunities for corruption in importing and exporting goods to and from Cambodia.
“Completion of the [Single Administrative Document] by March 2006 is ambitious but realistic,” Finance Minister Keat Chhon said on Tuesday. “This is one of the most important parts of the [customs] re-engineering process.”
The form, which was analyzed by officials at a Tuesday meeting with World Bank consultants in Phnom Penh, will eventually be part of a computerized “single window” customs system, which the government plans to pilot-test by December, officials said.
That system, which the consultants said could be outsourced in a joint venture to a private firm, could be structured using the Internet. Traders would be able to submit the single form by connecting to a server shared by the numerous ministries and agencies involved in trade. It is being developed with the aid of the UN.
World Bank Country Manager Nisha Agrawal emphasized at the meeting that a risk-management strategy to determine which exports are inspected is key to facilitating trade. He said the government has decided that the current inspection rate of nearly 100 percent should be reduced to 50 percent of all containers by the end of the year and to 25 percent by the end of 2007.
Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia Secretary-General Ken Loo said he was hopeful that the government will soon contract with the UN to develop the computerized system and that GMAC members will be testing it by October.