The PCA Training


Meeting Challenges in Customs

With the ever-increasing volume of international trade and the need to expedite the clearance of goods, it becomes unfeasible for Customs to make conclusive decisions regarding duty liability on all consignments in the narrow time frame available at the port of entry or exit. Neither is it appropriate to delay the clearance of goods while resolving any queries, unless fraud is suspected. To meet these challenges, many Customs administrations now concentrate their controls on the post-clearance environment, while retaining selective and targeted checks at the frontier using risk management techniques.

Introducing the Post-Clearance Audit

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) of the Government of Bangladesh introduced systems-based post-clearance audit (PCA) to
  • ensure that low-risk consignments are not delayed unnecessarily at ports of entry or exit, thereby facilitating trade and reducing associated costs;
  • increase tax revenue by systematically auditing the records of businesses involved in importing or exporting, leading to the detection of underpayments; and
  • help promote proactive compliance by businesses, ensure continuing rapid movement of legitimate goods, and enhance supply chain security.

The Training Package

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in coordination with the NBR, has developed a training package for Systems-based Post-clearance Audit. This is financed on a grant basis by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. The training package will enable customs officers to have the necessary confidence, knowledge, and skills to carry out PCAs.

Systems-based PCA

There are two types of PCAs: transaction-based, which consists of an officer calling a company for additional information to verify the accuracy of a Customs declaration, and systems-based PCAs, which establishes whether a company’s systems of internal control are operating properly. A systems-based PCA entails visits to a company’s premises in order to learn about the internal control systems through interviews with the management and relevant staff, and through reviews of company documentation, including Customs declarations, books, and accounts. The training package developed for NBR covers systems-based PCAs.

Contents of Training Package

The training package consists of the following:

Systems-Based Post-Clearance Audit: Training Booklet. This booklet is the main component of the training package. It contains training videos for all 21 sessions (saved in a flash drive and attached to the booklet), printed handouts, comprehension tests, and frequently asked questions. This booklet is meant to be on-hand as the trainee goes through the training videos. The pages of the comprehension tests and some pages of the handouts are perforated along the spine margin so the trainees can tear off and submit completed tests to their senior officers. Alternatively, the booklet itself may be submitted for checking or the comprehension tests may be taken online. This will enable senior officers to track the ¬trainees’ progress. The flash drive also contains the PowerPoint slides seen in the videos so that the trainees can refer back to them at any time. Other essential references, as well as the two manuals described below, are saved in the flash drive.

Systems-Based Post-Clearance Audit: Implementing Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures. This manual presents the policies and standard operating procedures that auditors should abide by as they carry out systems-based PCA within Bangladesh. The manual is to be used as a reference and should ideally be read before going through the training videos.

Systems-Based Post-Clearance Audit: A Manual for Instructors. This manual is for instructors charged with training customs officers ¬specifically in the conduct of systems-based PCAs. It lays out a curriculum for a week-long course comprising all 21 sessions, accompanied by PowerPoint presentations for each session. This allows the training to be done in instances where live training is preferred over training videos, letting participants experience the benefits of group dynamics and exercises.

About the systems-based PCA training course

The training course has 21 sessions and gives participants an understanding of the purpose of systems-based PCAs, including why they have become essential, and the adverse effects of corruption, particularly on international trade. It uses materials from ADB, the Government of Bangladesh, the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the World Customs Organization, and the World Trade Organization.

The training package will widen the reach of the training on PCAs. Customs officers may go through the videos at their own pace and at a conducive location, and the training can be scheduled around work and home life, for optimum learning. The videos may also be used in training centers or at customs offices with the necessary facilities, where training can be done in batches. The videos can also be used to supplement live training. The training package is also designed to train future trainers on PCAs, thereby making the course available to many others who may need it.

Once Customs officers complete the course, they will be prepared to conduct systems-based PCAs in a professional and effective way. They will also be prepared to make a valuable contribution to the vital fight against corruption.