Sherab Lhamo

The Department of Revenue and Customs launched the complete Electronic Customs Management System (eCMS) in Thimphu yesterday.

Director General of Department of Revenue and Customs, Sonam Jamtsho said, “The eCMS system is polished to revolutionise the way we handle customs procedures, making them more transparent, reliable and conducive to business growth.”

It is a significant step towards creating a business friendly environment that fosters economic development and prosperity.

Program Manager of eCMS, Seldon said users can submit the declaration electronically, unlike in the past, where traders and, clearing and forwarding agents (CFAs) had to visit custom offices or the regional offices to submit their declaration manually. “Now with the help of eCMS they can submit their declaration online.”

The system also introduces electronic payments for customs duties and taxes, making it easier and faster for individuals and businesses to comply. Additionally, it digitises customs processes and automatically shares data with other government agencies and private sectors.

Traders or clearing agents can now submit declarations, track their consignments, and receive updates from the comfort of their own office or home.

The Interim Advisor for Ministry of Finance and Chairperson of ACC, Deki Pema, said that the customs operation are the gatekeepers of the nation’s economic health with the eCMS designed to service as the back bones of the customs operations providing transparency, expediting clearances and minimising bureaucratic hurdles that business often encounter, enabling custom officials to make informed decisions.

The eCMS also helps to mitigate errors and risks of fraud and smuggling through their risk assessment functionality, where any declaration which goes through customs is being assessed by the risk assessment, said Seldon.

Seldon said that its functionality assesses the incorporated data and risk profile in the system, the system will automatically route the channel whether it should go to the red channel, where goods are physically inspected or green channel, where the consignments are leased.

With the support of the Asian Development Bank and Government of India, the eCMS project started in February 2021.

After the success of the first phase, undergoing a piloting phase in April 2023, it was officially launched on October 30, 2023.

Since its pilot phase, eCMS has cleared 448,718 declarations by 150 registered clearing and forwarding agents in the system. The system has been implemented in all eight regional revenue and customs offices. The department has 54,507 registered traders as of December 25.