The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has cancelled plans to fast track the clearing of barrels and other packages being shipped for the Christmas holidays, just days after a quantity of ammunition was discovered at a city wharf.
GRA, however, said that it has put in place mechanisms to ensure that barrels are cleared in an expeditious manner and that the “existing process remains unchanged until further notice”.
However, GRA did not immediately link the discovery of a quantity of ammunition in a barrel to the decision to suspend the new measures.
About two weeks ago, GRA announced that it is putting new systems in place to ease the expected Christmas congestion to clear personal effects.
The Christmas season is the busiest time of the year for shippers with many families sending barrels and packages for relatives.
GRA had indicated that it could, under new systems, allow transactions to be completed in as little as 10 minutes.
The measures would have been become effective December 1, and would have seen the ceiling value of barrels raised from $100,000 to $200,000.
One of the main measures would have been the discontinuation of practice to examine barrels and packages by Customs unless there was intelligence otherwise that the consignments warranted checks.
A flat rate of duty would have been charged also on all personal effects. However, the rate would have depended on the type and size of the package to be cleared, ranging from $6,000 for large barrels to $4,000 and $6,000 for large boxes to $2,400.
Under new requirements, overseas families would have been required to state, on the manifest, the specific size of the package and a brief description of the content of the consignment.
“This new system will
also seek to remove inefficiencies and mitigate instances of fraud and allegations of corruption. Moreover, with the simplified system, once the required information has been accurately filled out, delays will be avoided,” GRA had assured. However, yesterday, GRA in announcement a cancellation of the new measures said that it is in the process of installing a container scanner and at the same time providing training to staff, which is necessary to process the release of barrels and small packages, before they are released to the consignees.
“This new initiative would reflect a more transparent process that will enhance and expedite the services provided by GRA. Notwithstanding the above, GRA has put in place internal mechanisms to ensure that the clearance of personal effects are expedited during the Christmas season.”
GRA also appealed to persons conducting business at the various wharves, to adhere to the system in place, and avoid the use of covert tactics in an effort to expedite the process and thereby disrupting the smooth flow of business.
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