Sri Lanka Customs moves towards e-commerce

Mar 11, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan importers will get an opportunity to present documents electronically to the customs by the middle of the year, the head of the Customs Department said. Sarath Jayatilleke, director-general of Customs, said the department would shift to a more advanced electronic data interchange system by June or July.

“We will give an opportunity to importers to present documents electronically but will not making it mandatory with manual processing also being done,” he said.

The move is another step in a long-delayed process in the island towards electronic commerce, meant to replace time-consuming manual procedures.

Jayatilleke said one of the reasons for the delay was the multitude of agencies that need to come on line with many not yet prepared to do so.

“We can’t work alone,” he told a news conference held to announce the setting up of an air cargo clearance facility by global logistics company DHL Express at Sri Lanka’s sole international airport.

“There are so many agencies including security, standards, food, health, environment – over 60-odd organizations are involved,” Jayatilleke said.

“They all must come on one platform. We’re