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OECS Customs Departments getting software system upgrade

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Monday, January 24, 2005 - The OECS Secretariat is working with the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), to upgrade the software system currently used by Customs Departments in the OECS, in an effort to help them better deal with the increasing volume and complexity of international trade.

On Monday OECS Customs officials and trade and finance experts met at the Bay Gardens Hotel, to discuss the implementation of ASYCUDA ++, which will replace the obsolete ASYCUDA software, introduced to the Caribbean in the early 1990’s.

Communications Officer at the OECS Secretariat Kendal Morgan, said that among the many benefits to be realized from the new ASYCUDA ++ software system, are improved revenue control and networking among Customs Departments.

“It would allow the brokers and other people who do business with Customs to be able from their own base, from their own business to be able to track things at the customs, and to be able to input from their businesses unto the customs data system, and generally to help the customs department in OECS countries better prepare themselves for entry into the proposed Caricom Single market and Economy (CSME), Mr. Morgan said.

Monday’s meeting also focused on deciding on a location for centralizing the new computerized system, so that participating countries can approach its implementation as a joint effort: “There are six participating OECS countries as far as this project is concerned. These are St. Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua-Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis, Dominica and Grenada. They are looking at Barbados as an example, because they have had some experience in the upgraded system. They are also looking at where St. Lucia has gone with it, because St. Lucia started introducing the system with some CDB funding, sometime ago, so the meeting will determine whether it will become the model for the rest of the region”, he informed.

Approximately US$3.2 million will be spent on the project over a period of 33 months.

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