Measures taken to combat the spread of Corona Virus (Covid 19)
In terms of trade facilitation and a general approach to limiting the spread of the corona virus the following operational measures were taken (As of 31 March 2020):
• The requirement to provide original certificates of origin, has been suspended.
• Documents accompanying goods will be considered as original documents without collecting the normally required guarantee.
• Customs continues to manage the risks for all imports, exports and transit movements. However, the need for medium risk (yellow lane) physical submission documentary check has been suspended. Risk management will continue using only two lanes, Green or Red.
• According to recent WCO guidance, Customs has enhanced its risk profiling to include measures against possible counterfeit imports and exports of products designed to combat Covid 19
• In accordance with the Oman Supreme Committee for dealing with the crisis, Customs is enforcing measures to ban the export of certain medical equipment from the Sultanate related to suppression of Covid 19
• Customs will not require the importer or his representative to be present during any physical examination of goods during this period
• During this period all imports designated for the Oman Ministry of Health, in order to combat Covid 19 Corona virus, will be exempted from Customs duty.
• www.customs.gov.om has more details
In terms of protecting staff and the public from the spread of Covid 19 the following measures were taken:
• The number of employees has been reduced by 30% of the total number, through a structured schedule of shifts, so that work continues 24 hours. The rest of the employees were assigned to work from their homes, this includes administrative officers and those with remote access to the Bayan ICMS (single window), while others are on approved annual leave.
• As before the Covid 19 outbreak, all brokers, agents, traders etc. are able to access the BAYAN ICMS 24/7 using their remote access log-in through the electronic single window. This enables remote clearance without a need to attend customs offices.
• The reception of individuals and companies at Customs premises has been suspended. All import and export queries are conducted through the Bayan support call centre which operates 24/7, or via a dedicated e-mail.
• All Customs officers and other government officials whether at the border or headquarters of Customs, were educated in various ways about the prevention methods of corona virus (Covid-19) through continuous sterilization, wearing gloves and masks and social distancing. Pamphlets and posters were distributed setting out these measures. Enhanced deep cleaning is now in operation at all Customs main offices and key border stations.