JIS News

Provisional figures for the month of April showed that revenue projections were surpassed by over half a billion dollars to be recorded at $12.56 billion.The government had budgeted to collect $12.02 billion for the first month of the new fiscal year, but was successful in securing some $540 million more than was projected.
Newly appointed Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Colin Bullock, who made the announcement at a graduation ceremony for Customs Officers held at the Ministry on June 23, said that of the additional amount collected, $387.7 million was attributable to tax revenues from international trade.
As such, he has underscored the importance of an “efficient and effective” Customs operation. “You have the capability to influence the flow of resources to the Consolidated Fund,” he told the 29 men and women, who had successfully completed three-month Line Officers Training Programme.
He noted further that, “governments around the world rely upon effective and efficient custom services to facilitate implementation of a myriad of fiscal, economic and social programmes (and) Jamaica Customs is no exception”.
Mr. Bullock said that the goal was to collect $179.5 billion in tax revenue for the current fiscal year and the contribution from international trade (primarily customs duties, general consumption tax and special consumption tax on imports) was projected to be $48.2 billion, (or) 27 per cent of total revenues and 14 per cent of the expenditure budget.
“I therefore implore you to take your responsibilities seriously and become actively engaged in the process of accelerating revenue growth”, the Financial Secretary said.
He told the graduates that, given the government’s firm commitment to balancing the budget this year, so that expenditure outlay of $204.5 billion was fully matched by corresponding revenue inflows and grants, “I cannot over-emphasise the importance of tax compliance and meeting or surpassing the established targets”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bullock noted that since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, there had been greater emphasis on the security aspect of the work of customs officers and pointed out that institutional strengthening programmes such as the Line Officers training course was critical if the Customs Department was to achieve its mission and overcome challenges and threats to national security and economic prosperity.
According to him, “the unacceptably high level of crime and violence in Jamaica, much of which is attributable to firearms, demands extreme vigilance and dedication to duty if we are to stem the inward flow of illegal guns and ammunition and minimize the negative impact on the society”.
He therefore urged the Customs Line Officers to seek at all times to “strike the right balance” as neither border security, revenue collection, nor facilitation and Customs enforcement, were mutually exclusive.
“Such training, coupled with modernised structures and processes, will advance the national effort to strengthen Jamaica’s borders, enhance revenue intake and facilitate international trade and commerce,” Mr. Bullock stated.