Internationally, 26th January is celebrated as an International Customs Day (ICD) under the auspices of the World Customs Organization (WCO) since the Convention establishing the Customs Co-operation Council was officially inaugurated in Brussels on 26th January 1953. Subsequently, the Customs administrations of WCO member States organize various national events during the ICD. The WCO on its part dedicates an annual theme that is officially declared on the ICD and the theme for 2017 is “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management”.
Data is generated by every economic activity, including the movement of goods and people and circulates extensively along the global value chain. Collecting and analyzing data to enhance the effectiveness of border management is of paramount importance to Customs administrations. This year, in the context of the International Customs Day, the WCO is introducing the theme “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management” to encourage the global Customs community to pursue their efforts and activities in this area.
The Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) with effect from 2014 joined the global Customs community in formally celebrating this day. This year’s ICD celebrations main event was organized in Samdrup Jhongkhar and honored being graced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. On this day, the DRC awarded WCO Merit Certificates to 16 best performing Customs officials as a recognition and appreciation for their hard work, dedication and integrity. The DRC also awarded certificate of appreciation top ten Personal Income Tax payers and also top ten Business and Corporate income taxpayers’ (BIT & CIT) with good compliance record and best performing business entity. The Department also launched the publication of Bhutan Trade Classification, Customs Tariff and Sales Tax Schedule, 2017 edition on this day.
Considering the theme for 2017, Hon’ble Members of Parliaments, senior executives of the Ministry of Finance, senior officials of the DRC from other regional offices, relevant stakeholders, border enforcement agencies and cross-border Customs officials of India, also joined the celebration.
Press Release on the Launch of Economic Early Warning System
The Hon’ble Finance Minister, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji launched the Economic Early Warning System for Bhutan. Also present were Cyn-Young Park (Director, ADB), Yoichiro Ishihara (Resident Representative, World Bank) and officials from ADB, the Ministry of Finance and other key economic agencies.
The development of an Economic Early Warning System (EWS) for Bhutan is one of the initiatives undertaken towards strengthening macroeconomic monitoring and surveillance in the country. The economy’s long term growth prospects of becoming more resilient to adverse economic shocks and being informed of increases in the level of exposure to these shocks is a prerequisite to achieve a sustainable economic growth. Strengthening macroeconomic monitoring and surveillance is crucial to ensure both short and longer term macroeconomic stability which is a key objective of Bhutan’s guiding policy founded on the principles of Gross National Happiness.
An early warning system (EWS) is a mechanism that captures symptoms of any event that is adverse to the economy in advance and can be used to track economic crisis, thereby signaling future crises. It constitutes important tool for authorities to implement optimal policies to prevent or at least attenuate the impact of an economic turmoil. To predict a crisis, policy makers must understand its potential causes and the development of EWS, tailored to Bhutanese economy is expected to assist in timely detection and mitigation.
The system has been developed through the joint collaboration between the Asian Development Bank and Knowledge Sharing Program, the Republic of Korea.
Two day familiarization workshop on EWS was also organized for the members of Macroeconomic Framework Coordination Technical Committee (MFCTC) following the launch.