JIS News

Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker, has said that the Jamaica Customs Department is looking to expand its Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme, which has enjoyed significant success among a cross-section of large, medium and small companies.
“We have close to some 400 companies now in that programme and they essentially can have all their paper work done through customs house in a matter of minutes and pay the duty and then proceed to the port. So it is conceivable that they can clear their cargo within one day once they are ready to pay the duty and have all of their other logistics organised. The feedback has been very positive,” he told JIS News.
He was addressing a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (January 20) at the agency’s Half-WayTree Road office in Kingston.
The AEO recognises companies, that among other things, are compliant with their taxes, and have established places of business, and rewards them “with even faster service,” the Commissioner explained.
However, he noted that because “we have been improving all our processes, many persons have said that some of our other processes are so improved that even if you are not in that programme, you are still enjoying a faster set of processing in Customs.”
Turning to the imminent transition of the Customs Department into an executive agency, the Commissioner stressed that concomitant with this must be a culture that emphasises meritocracy and accountability.
“The consultants are now in house to start us on our journey towards becoming an executive agency. I believe that this is a critical change that needs to take place within customs. We must also have a culture that is based on meritocracy than one that tends to be based on privilege. The concept that I am an appointed officer in the civil service and therefore I have a right to remain regardless of the quality of my work, and quality of my contribution, is a paradigm that we have to move away from,” he argued.
“We somehow have to move towards some of the paradigms that exist within a private sector world where you have to deliver. Managers, who are in the public sector, must be called on more to be accountable for what the staff that reports to them delivers,” Mr. Walker added.
The Jamaica Customs Department is observing Customs Week from January 23 to 29 under the theme: ‘Customs and Business: Improving Performance Through Partnership’.

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