Thukten Zangpo 

To facilitate trade, the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) launched the Customs Road Cargo Manifest System (CRCMs) yesterday.

The DRC’s Joint Collector, Customs and Excise Division, Deki Gyamtsho said that the then-practised interim web-based vehicle registration system (VRS) was missing the OTP generated registration component, which meant taxpayer numbers were sometimes misused by the individuals. “There were incidents where the vehicles registered did not match with the importers’ contact number or Citizenship Identity Card number.”

The new system is linked to the department’s Revenue Administration Management Information System so that the misuse of taxpayer numbers can be prevented, and officials said that many aspects of the revenue leakage can be plugged.

According to DRC’s press release, CRCMs was launched in response to the Covid-19 situation. There was an urgent need to create an enabling environment through the use of ICT technologies in line with His Majesty’s vision of digitisation.

The system will provide safe, fast and effective delivery of services for both the taxpayer and tax officials, reduce face to face transactions, promote transparency and accountability, and curb corrupt practices, stated the DRC press release.

With the new system, the importers and clearing agents can submit a one-time registration and track their status. The customs officials can verify and approve imports online, depending upon the capacity of the mini-dry port and truck parking area in Phuentsholing.

Director General of the DRC, Wangchuk Thayey, said that the department came up with the VRS since the first initiative, a Google Sheets system for the Department of Trade, was hacked by an individual in India and manipulated by unscrupulous individuals.

It was found that information technology experts across the border were prefilling the Google forms and registering within minutes after the registration opened, and Bhutanese importers were not able to register their vehicles.

The vehicle registration initially began on March 28 last year after the closure of the border gate. It used to be carried out through vehicle registration in person, or via email and phone.

The CRCMs will be replaced by the electronic Customs Management Systems, which is expected to be launched by early August next year to enhance transparent and effective customs clearance.