Do Huu Toan, director of the Tan Cang Border Gate Customs Division in HCM City, spoke to Thoi bao Ngan hang (Banking Times) about the benefits of using digital signatures with customs filings.
Your department is believed to be the first to use digital signatures in HCM City. How has it worked out?
Using digital signatures is an important goal set by the Ministry of Finance to improve and standardise transactions and customs clearance. In the near future, digital signatures will be applied in customs departments nationwide. The HCM City Customs Department recently held a training course for over 1,000 local enterprises on how to use digital signatures in making electronic customs declarations.
The Tan Cang Border Gate Customs Division was selected as the first unit to use the digital signatures in a pilot project with over 30 enterprises that regularly make declarations at this border gate. Twenty-two of those enterprises now regularly use the digital signature, and the others have at least tried it. As many as 128 electronic declarations have been made, collecting duties totalling VND55 billion (US$2.62 million).
Isn't the number of enterprises using the digital signature few compared with total number of enterprises in the city?
The digital signature is planned to be widely used at all divisions and border gates city-wide after overcoming some shortcomings encountered this month. When the time comes, the division will require about 1,400 enterprises to file electronically.
What benefit do enterprises receive?
This is the common question asked by many enterprises. Using the digital signature is consistent with international practice and helps create smooth transactions between agencies and enterprises. It also increases data security and limits risk. Enterprises get not only short-term but also long-term benefits.
Will digital signature use increase costs?
The enterprises which participated in the pilot programme received free software. Depending on their needs, enterprises can register one or several digital signatures. It costs VND1.5 million ($71) to register each digital signature and enterprises can use it for one year. I think the cost is not large for most small- and medium-sized enterprises.
According to the City Customs Department, enterprises need to actively contact service providers licensed by the Ministry of Information and Communications to certify digital signatures. Next, enterprises need to upgrade their e-customs software for the digital signature and register at the website of Viet Nam Customs.
As far as I know, some enterprises still hesitate to use digital signatures because they do not realise the benefits. Many smaller enterprises have no information technology staff so they hesitate to use e-customs procedure. In general, it is easy to understand that we can encounter troubles when introducing anything new, but hesitation is the main obstacle, not technology or financial factors. — VNS