RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has reduced customs clearance time by 84 percent to just two hours by the end of 2022, down from 13 hours the previous year, the director general of Customs Operations Department at the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority revealed on Thursday.
Ammar Al-Salami was speaking at a session titled “Custom clearance within two hours” on the second day of a conference organized by the authority in Riyadh. The top official highlighted the authority’s achievements and measures it is taking to expedite official procedures to facilitate all stakeholders.
“We started in 2021 in January with about 13 hours (custom-clearance time) to end up with about two hours for clearance in 2022,” the director general disclosed.
Back in 2017, customs clearance used to take around 12 days, Al-Salami added. He went on to explain that the clearance within the two-hour initiative is directly linked to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint.
Moreover, the number of documents required for import has also been reduced to two, down from 12 papers previously.
The end goal of the initiative is to further elevate and improve the customer experience in Saudi Arabia, the official said.
He acknowledged the fact that some customers faced inordinate delays or other issues but said that the relevant authorities are taking all steps necessary to control such incidents.
“We have re-engineered the operational model. We are reclassifying importers, exporters, and brokers,” the director general said.
“We have also activated electronic services to submit the declaration through Fasah which helped us to automate customs data,” he added.
Fasah is a unified electronic window launched to facilitate the import and export system. It is an integrated platform that aims to facilitate international trade services by automating procedures.
The authority has also been working on continuously supporting customers which is evident through the launch of 10 new comprehensive services provided at different outlets, Al-Salami said.
The Zakat, Tax, and Customs conference aims to tackle global experiences in the fields and discuss the future of digitizing those sectors as well as propelling trade and protecting national security.