By Llonella Gilbert
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest launched The Bahamas Customs and Excise Department’s public education campaign for the Customs Modernization Initiative, and the User Registration Drive for Click2Clear, the new Customs Online Portal, which represents the future of Customs.
“What we envision is a revenue collections agency that performs its function in a secure, modern and convenient way. Technology is at the heart of this transformation process and Click2Clear represents all the ways that technology is going to take Customs into the future,” the DPM said at the launch at his office, Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
He added that once Click2Clear is fully implemented, all importers will be operating by the same rules and regulations as most processes will be digitized and automated. That means they will not vary from one Customs officer to the next or one port of entry to the next.
DPM Turnquest explained, “Online payments will be accepted 24/7 on the new system. We will have tighter controls and risk management to reduce the opportunities of corruption and fraud, including the ability to transition to a cashless environment.
“The benefits of this transformation are numerous, as the Government will have accurate statistical information for more effective policy making and real time information to assist with better budget planning.”
He noted that so far, hundreds of Customs officers, industry professionals and businesses, including brokers, agents and shipping companies have been trained, and there is more work to do to get all stakeholders operating comfortably on the new system.
He added that there are also thousands of individuals – residents and non-residents – to register on the system, which is a simple, one-time process.
According to Superintendent Tyrone Sands, Bahamas Customs Department, user registration is one of the most important features of the new Customs online portal as it creates levels of security, protection and transparency that were non-existent in the old system.
“However, when individuals register on Click2Clear no one can import goods in their name without their knowledge. The old system made it inconvenient to verify Customs charges and payments quoted by a Customs broker.
“However, when individuals register on Click2Clear, they get automatic email confirmation whenever duties are paid on their behalf. User registration is a critical feature for the integrity of the import and export system, and we are pleased to see it will bring new benefits to everyone.”
Supt. Sands stressed that the law requires everyone to register on Click2Clear if they import or export goods.
“Whether you are an individual that shops online, sends or receives documents internationally, or uses a Customs broker or freight forwarder to bring in goods, all importers and exporters must register on Click2Clear.”
He said, “Individuals who register before September 30, 2019 can avoid frustrating delays with their broker and at Customs. Do not wait until you have something urgent that you need to buy and bring into the country. Register early.”
Sign-up is at Click2Clear.gov.bs simple, free and one-time only. Look for the register link on Click2Clear.gov.bs and complete the simple form. Residents need an NIB Smart Card to register. On the website there is a how-to video tutorial and other videos to educate the public about the new platform.