Customs launches digital signatures for online documents | Sunday Observer

Customs launches digital signatures for online documents

25 July, 2021

Sri Lanka Customs in a landmark initiative to  make the import and export process seamless has partnered with LankaClear to introduce LankaSign digital signatures for online document submission.

This was launched under the patronage of State Minister of Finance, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, at the  Sri Lanka Customs auditorium recently.

The import/export process has a huge bearing on a country’s Ease of Doing Business index. This is also considered a critical factor in attracting foreign direct investments. For many years, document submission to Sri Lanka Customs was a manual process.

Ending this cumbersome and ineffective process, the Customs introduced online document submission following the migration to ASYCUDA World in 2012. However, the use of electronic signatures for the current document submission process was found to be vulnerable in the face of rising cyber security threats worldwide. As a solution, the Customs partnered with LankaClear in introducing LankaSign digital signatures for documents submitted to the Customs.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal said, “These types of progressive initiatives would improve the entire business process and ensure Sri Lanka climbs up the Ease of Doing Business index by a few notches.”

For the proposed system to work seamlessly, importers, exporter, banks, clearing agents need to sign up online with LankaSign to obtain digital signatures. LankaSign is Sri Lanka’s only commercially operating certification authority approved by the National Certification Authority Task Force, which is the governing body for digital certification service providers in the country. 

Applauding the efforts of his ICT team at the Customs, Director General of Customs, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G. Vijitha Ravipriya  said, “The latest automation would immensely benefit the traders to carry out their clearing process with minimal difficulties. It will also help our staff to process the clearing requests in a much more efficient manner with greater security.”

Chairman of LankaClear, Dr. Kenneth De Zilwa said, “LankaClear is a successful Public-Private-Partnership that was set up in 2002 initially to clear interbank cheques. In 2006, we setup the first automated Cheque Imaging and Truncation System as the first entity in South Asia and the second in the World to do so.

LankaClear has also facilitated automated payments towards customs declarations since 2017 and I am happy to be associated with this latest initiative of the Customs to completely automate the document submission process in a secure and an efficient manner by using LankaSign Digital Signatures.” 

Deputy Secretary to the Treasury. R. M. P. Rathnayake; Director Payments and Settlement of Central Bank, Dharmasri Kumaratunge and CEO LankaClear, Channa de Silva were also present.