Customs collections jump by $14.17 billion
THE Jamaica Customs Agency's revenue collection for 2013/14 was $134.254 billion, some $14.172 billion or 12 per cent above the previous year, Minister Horace Dalley announced yesterday.
Dalley, the minister with responsibility for the public service, was making his contribution to the 2014/15 sectoral debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday.
He said that as at June 18, 2014, the year-to-date (YTD) target for the current fiscal year was $27.896 billion, while the YTD collection was $28.270 billion, exceeding the current YTD target by $0.374 billion or 1.34 per cent.
He told the House that since the Jamaica Customs Department was accorded executive agency status it has improved its performance as the second largest revenue collection agency of the State.
In the meantime, he said the new tax reform measures also make special provisions for improving efficiency and customer relations at Customs.
Some of the new reform measures include amendment to the Customs tariff in relation to retaining the recently changed five per cent duty on light-emitting diodes (LEDs), in keeping with the Government of Jamaica-stated energy policy; reform of the Provisions of the Customs Regulations to update the schedule to reflect current best practice and improve the administration of the Customs Act.
Other reforms are amendment of the Customs Act to allow for Common External Tariff suspension to allow for a standardised, criteria- driven application in accordance with the Treaty of Chaguaramas; and amendment to the existing Customs Act to provide for the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to enhance border control and protection.
He said that the ASYCUDA system is now being implemented, adding that the feasibility study projects that Customs revenue will increase by 10 to 20 per cent once the system is fully implemented.
The implementation of the system will guarantee transparency, uniformity/standardisation and consistency of Customs procedures. The ASYCUDA project will improve Customs control and risk-management capabilities, thereby reducing the incidence of smuggling.
Dalley added that it is part of the refocused public sector transformation programme to enhance Jamaica's 'Doing Business' profile.