Officers of the Plant Quarantine Division are confident that the roll out of the Plant Quarantine Licence Module of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World System, will improve their operations.
The division will begin its implementation of the computerised customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures, from Monday, 1 July 2019. Against this backdrop, paper copies of import licenses will no longer be issued by the ministry, nor will be accepted by the Grenada Customs and Excise Division.
In light of this, the Ministry of Agriculture through support from the Customs Division held a refresher for officers on Thursday, 27 June. The refresher reacquainted members of the department with the workability of the programme, ability to deal with upgrades within the system; as the module sets out to achieve trade facilitation by speeding up the clearance process through the simplification and normalisation of documents and procedures, and the use of information technology.
Thaddeus Peters, agricultural officer at the Pest Management Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture explained the benefits of the move saying that the new automated procedures are geared towards improving the operations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Customs, while at the same time enhancing trade facilitation. “It will allow us to follow, collect and compile our data in relation to importation easier. Additionally, this will allow us to facilitate risk analysis as the process is much simpler.”
Rene Parkes, facilitator of the training praised the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for the step towards implementing the Automated System. “I want to compliment the Ministry of Agriculture for coming on board with us, in the embryonic stage in the single window initiative. We had to speak to them and we had to engage them for them to explain what they do on a daily basis and to customise and streamline the operations to suit their needs. With the memorandum of understanding signed, they are aware of what is required of them to ensure the success of the single window initiative.”
Peter Joseph plant quarantine officer is another member of the unit who praised the initiative. “I think with the ASYCUDA system coming into being, we would be able to facilitate the general public who is involved in the trade of agricultural produce. It would reduce the time for processing and allow us to track the items coming into the country.”
For Benson Allridge, representing the Pest Management Unit, the training received “would help us to complete processes faster and also services without people having to physically be present.”
The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is a computerised system designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to administer a country’s customs.
Ministry of Agriculture