JIS News

The Jamaica Customs Department collected $706. 2 million in duty via its e-payment system for the first quarter of the 2005/06 financial year, with $684.3 attributed to the Kingston office and $21.9 million to Montego Bay.
The figure represents a significant increase over the $245 million collected over the same period for 2004/05, where $235.1 million came from Kingston and $9.9 million from Montego Bay.
Public Relations Manager at Jamaica Customs, Naomi Goulbourne-Rodney told JIS News, that the e-payment system “can revolutionize the duty payment process, making trips to the customs house a thing of the past”.
She observed though, that whilst the increases were significant, only a few persons were making use of the e-payment facility. According to her, “only 9 per cent of the 31,946 custom entries processed in Kingston were collected via e-payment”, while only six importers in Montego Bay had paid their duties online.
Nevertheless, she has expressed confidence that the payment method would “catch on” as more persons became aware of the service. Payments can be made with Visa and Master cards and the department is working with the National Commercial Bank to get their Keycard facility online.
Mrs. Rodney further opined, that the convenience of doing business in this way would help in attracting others to the system. Among the benefits to the importer is the ability to check the status of the C78 entry to know if it has been processed and passed for payment. This can be done 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The process also saves time and money at the bank getting a bank draft and saves the long wait at the Customs House.
Mrs. Rodney said that the planned expansion of the Customs Hall at Newport East would include the addition of a banking hall, where importers with commercial shipments valued at less than US$5,000 would be able to prepare the C78 entry electronically at Kiosks provided.
Entries with a value in excess of US$5,000 must be prepared by a licensed broker.