Jan 01, 2016 News
There is a greater chance of improving revenue collection from trade if there is greater scrutiny and inspections of goods and heavier fines placed on defaulters.
This is the conclusion following discussions with the Examining Officers following year-end spot checks at several shipping ports by Commissioner-General (ag) senior managers and team.
Last Tuesday, GRA Commissioner General (ag) Ingrid Griffith; along with Fitzroy Corlette, Head Project Coordination; Jameel Baksh, Deputy Commissioner, Customs Excise and Trade Operations; and Simone Beckles, Senior Manager, Wharves, Boathouse and CJIA Operation; visited the GRA Goods Examination Unit (GEU) on Lombard Street, La Penitence, where the stationary container scanner is housed.
Griffith led impromptu visits to several wharves around the city for spot checks and discussions with customs officers tasked with administering the country’s Tax, Trade and Border Laws and Regulations year-round.
Smuggling, under declared imports and other clandestine activities in trade are challenges which the GRA is forced to tackle in its daily efforts to collect and protect revenue owed to the state.
During the course of the visits the Commissioner-General (ag) also took note of some of the resource constraints at the ports and suggested possible solutions.
Among them was the backlog of Want of Entry (unclaimed) cargo which should be disposed of within a certain time frame in accordance with the laws of Guyana and the Authority’s standard operating procedures.
The additional locations visited were the John Fernandes Wharf and Terminal, the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC), the Guyana National Industrial Company (GNIC), the Demerara Shipping Company Limited (DSCL), Muneshwer’s Limited and Q-Trex International.
Business at those locations have slowed down considerably when compared to the extremely high volume of traffic seen in the days and weeks leading up to the Christmas celebrations when there was need for the optimization of the Authority’s services to clear personal and commercial cargo.
Both Andrew Astwood, the Managing Director, GNSC and Clinton Williams, Chief Executive Officer, GNIC noted that the extended working hours for Customs Officials and other interventions supported the efforts needed for efficiency during the peak season.
Since mid-November, systems were put in place at the level of the GRA’s Customs Excise and Trade Operations to accommodate the anticipated heavy volume of cargo arriving from overseas.
These initiatives included extended working hours at the Transit Sheds and the Entry Processing Unit (EPU) on weekdays and on Saturdays.
The tours came mere days before 2015 ended and ambitious revenue targets were to be reached.
At the conclusion of the day’s activities the team noted that additional visits are scheduled for other GRA locations in early January 2016.
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