BoC agenda puts digitalization front and center

THE new Bureau of Customs (BoC) commissioner said digitizing the bureau’s process is his main priority, with the aim of making governance more data-driven.

“I aspire to foster a healthier trade environment, which will contribute to the expansion and economic recovery, by equipping the Bureau of Customs with better and modernized mechanisms for trade facilitation, and a more improved collection efficiency, through the introduction of these sustainable reforms,” Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio said at his turnover ceremony on Monday.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno also called on the Bureau in a statement to set digitization as a key priority.

“Digital customs administration allows the government to focus its resources on identifying higher-risk entities, while enhancing the ease of doing business,” he said in a speech.

Mr. Rubio hopes to push down data-driven decision-making to every level of the organization, whose members will use “factual and calculated forecasts” en route to sweeping institutional changes “that will shape the Bureau’s immediate and future plans,” he said in his speech as quoted in a BoC statement.

The BoC exceeded its collection target for 2022 of P862.929 billion by 19.6%. It also beat the January target as early as Jan. 27 with collections of P65.801 billion, up 13.2% from a year earlier.

The BoC has been set a target of P901.3 billion for 2023, including P570.3 billion in value-added taxes from imports, P207.4 billion worth of excise taxes, P105.1 billion in import duties and P18.5 billion from other fees.

The 2023 target is 24.9% higher than the P721.5-billion target set for 2022. — Aaron Michael C. Sy