Oct 07, 2016 News
Poultry producers are upping pressure for a meeting with Government on what it says appears to be
fraud with the importation of Jamaican feed.
The Guyana Poultry Producers Association yesterday said that from all indications Customs fraud seems to be involved in what is clearly a taxable product that does not qualify for CARICOM waivers.
The association now wants to meet with the Ministry of Finance and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the matter.
According Patrick De Groot, President of the association, it also wants a meeting with the Ministry of Business on a separate matter- several licences that were reportedly issued recently for the importation of over 800,000 pounds of chicken.
With regards to the feed issue, the association says that after complaints to Governments of Guyana and Jamaica, a local farmer who had been importing feed from the latter country, had stopped doing so pending a probe to determine whether the relevant CARICOM taxes should be applied.
De Groot, from Bounty Farms, explained that the issue started last year when the association noticed that feed from Jamaica was being imported with the taxes waived under what is known as the CARICOM Certificate of Origin. This meant that items produced in the Caribbean, using local ingredients or inputs, could be freely traded with no taxes charged.
That Jamaican feed, Nutramix, the association contended, does not qualify for the tax waivers as its inputs are not from Jamaica.
”We had meetings with our Minister of Agriculture (Noel Holder) and the Jamaican Minister of Agriculture during a CARICOM business meeting earlier this year.”
De Groot disclosed that it was agreed that the farmer would pay the 15 percent tax that is normally charged for products that come from out of the region, pending a probe to determine whether the feed, Nutramix, indeed qualifies for the waiver.
“Apparently, unknown to us, Jamaica is saying that everything is alright with the feed and Customs has since reportedly allowed the feed to come in duty free. They have not contracted us.”
De Groot insisted that the matter is of huge concern as a feed that does not comply with regulations is unfairly competing.
“Our feed has rice, maybe 60 percent is Guyana rice, so it can be classified under the CARICOM regulations.”
He said that another member of the association, Robert Badal, of the Guyana Stockfeeds, has been trying to arrange a meeting through the Ministry of Agriculture, with the Ministry of Finance and GRA.
Meanwhile, Badal disclosed that from all indications, the fact that the 15 percent tariff was removed speaks of a possible high level Customs fraud.
”This tariff was implemented a few months ago on such feeds since it did not qualify for CARICOM origin status as all of the raw materials used in its production were imported from extra regional sources.”
He explained that to qualify as a CARICOM product the rules of origin under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas expressly require that the feed must not contain more than 5% of extra regional materials.
“As Jamaica produces no corn, soya bean, vitamins or minerals such feeds are without doubt extra regional. The Certificate of Origin issued by the Jamaican authorities represents the most blatant display of misrepresentation by Government officers in the region.”
Badal said that this was the case made by the local feed producers and prompted the Ministry of Agriculture to insist that the tariff of 15% be collected by Customs.
“This tariff was collected for a number of months but has now been unilaterally removed.”
Badal claimed that a senior Customs Officer recently scratched off a $1,500,000 duty charge on one entry, placing zeros in the spaces instead.
“The clearance was rushed through Customs and delivered to the importer. All subsequent shipments were cleared without duty. This matter was reported to the Commissioner General of GRA more than a month ago. He was given a copy of the feed label which shows conclusively that the feed contains 19% protein, on the basis of which alone it would not qualify for origin status as Jamaica produces no soya bean which is the source of such protein.”
In fact, Badal said, typical poultry feeds are around 30% soya meal (protein source); 55-60% corn (energy source) plus vitamins and minerals, which in Jamaica’s case are all extra regional.
“The GRA boss promised to restore the tariff and collect the back taxes,” the poultry producer said.
Badal said that the local poultry industry is demanding that GRA restore the tariff of 15% without further delay on such feeds, that the tariff be collected on all shipments on which it was removed and that the Customs Officers involved be removed from office. It is also asking that such action be made public.
Meanwhile, De Groot said that the association is seeking a meeting with the Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin on a number of licences reportedly issued last week for chicken importation for over 800,000 pounds.
De Groot explained that it is tradition that every year, around October, producers would meet with the business ministry to determine if there will likely be a shortage for the Christmas period.
“If there is, there would likely be an agreement for a few licences for the importation. This year, we understand that the licences were issued. We want to meet the Business Minister to discuss the matter,” the businessman said.
He added that in the past there has been evidence of fraud with chicken importation- under-declaration and chicken brought in from out of the region to Suriname and then smuggled to Guyana.
Jun 20, 2021National Senior Athletics Championships Kaieteur News – Arinze Chance and Aliyah Abrams did the expected and decimated their rivals to easily win the 400m finals at Athletics Guyana (AG) Senior...
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Kaieteur News – I am quoting the words of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine in an interview of September, 2017, that he gave Dr.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders More commonality was shown by CARICOM countries in a vote on Tuesday June 15 at the Organisation of... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]