GROSS collections by the Jamaica Customs in December 2012 amounted to $10.509 billion, an increase of $2.393 billion, or 29 per cent over the same period last year, head of Customs Major Richard Reese said in a statement yesterday.
The amount collected, however, fell seven per cent short of the target of $11.354 billion.
According to Major Reece, revenue collections at the third quarter of the financial year (April to December) stand at $92.616 billion, which shows a $9.371 billion or 11 per cent increase in collections over the same period last year, but a $1.154 billion or one per cent shortfall against the target of $93.771 billion. Overall, the total collections for April-December 2012 is 73.84 per cent of the annual target of $125,433, 438,977 billion.
One major reason for the reported shortfall in revenue is the fluctuation of the importation of the Department's main revenue product --petroleum, Reese said.
The months which saw a reduction in this product also resulted in a deficit in collections. Other influences include a decline in the number of containers imported and a significant decline in imports for the parish of St Ann.
Commissioner Reese outlined some initiatives to increase revenue collections for the final quarter of the financial year. These include "the increase of targeted operations with regards to breaches, post-audit operations and focusing on under-invoicing, excess goods and un-manifested goods for re-evaluations."
Also the Department, according to the statement, will be "increasing the percentage of random inspection of Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), reviewing all bonds for Public Bonded Warehouses to ensure adequate duty coverage, hosting more frequent motor vehicle auctions, and imposing increased penalties with regards to breaches of the Customs Act.
The re-introduction of the scrap metal industry will also result in an increase in revenue from processing fees (per container), the statement said.