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  • Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, has lauded the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) for employing technology solutions to bolster its operations and surpass revenue targets.
  • Dr. Phillips commended Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, and his team for the work they have been doing in ensuring that the targets are being met. He noted that revenues are critical in ensuing that the Government can meet the needs of the people.

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, has lauded the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) for employing technology solutions to bolster its operations and surpass revenue targets.

The Finance Minister, who was addressing the agency’s Bi-Annual Information Exposition held on January 29 at Customs House, located at Newport East, said the move has facilitated trade and economic activities, which have boosted revenue earnings.

“All of this (is taking) place at a time when we are undergoing major changes to the duty regime and to the taxation arrangements in the country,” he said.

Dr. Phillips commended Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, and his team for the work they have been doing in ensuring that the targets are being met. He noted that revenues are critical in ensuing that the Government can meet the needs of the people.

“Nothing can happen without the revenues…the roads that everybody needs to have fixed, the schools that need repairs, the hospital system, which is in need of additional resources. Revenue is needed to pay down the debt, which is the major impediment to our capacity to move forward and to grow as a country,” he noted.

The JCA, last year, introduced the web-based Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme.

The ASYCUDA speeds up operations at the ports by fully automating export and import transactions. It allows for real-time updates on new tax regulations to minimise errors and delays in the computation of port taxes and also guarantees transparency, uniformity/standardisation and consistency of Customs procedures.

It also reduces the cost of importation and doing business for local and foreign investors.

The AEO is designed to boost compliance and reduce security risks by certifying all relevant personnel within the import and export industry.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said it is his expectation that the operations of Customs will be further boosted in its new construct as an Executive Agency. It received Executive Agency status in 2013.

“The Jamaica Customs Agency is central to our ability to trade across borders and has a central role to play in a logistics centred economy,” he said.

He also congratulated Customs on all achievements to date and challenged the workers to continue to push forward in facilitating trade, protecting the country’s borders, and collecting revenues.

The Information Exposition formed part of activities for Customs Week 2015. It was also held in celebration of International Customs Day, which was observed on January 26 under the theme: ‘Coordinated Border Management – An Inclusive Approach to Connecting Stakeholders’.

During the exposition, booths were mounted by several public and private sector entities including the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Rainforest Seafood, Kingston Wharves, Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), National Land Agency (NLA), Management Institute for National Development (MIND), Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), the Ministry of Agriculture, among others.