JIS News

The Government will be amending legislation to ensure that only accompanied baggage benefit from the passenger declaration system, which allows for the importation of up to US$500 worth of goods (personal effects), without duty.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, said this has become necessary as the current system, which gives duty concession on both accompanied and unaccompanied luggage, is being abused.
He said the system had been designed to facilitate modest imports, but “it turns out that some people are declaring a 20 or 40 foot trailer as unaccompanied baggage, and that sort of thing cannot work.”
“There have also been cases where Customs officially issue 7,000 forms at the airport on arrival, but in an audit period, 15,000 forms have been used, which means that approximately 8,000 people never really travelled at all, but they used the forms to import goods. That’s outright fraud. We’re going to disallow the privilege of unaccompanied baggage being used in this way.We are aware of it and we have already taken steps to put an end to it,” he emphasised.
Mr. Shaw said that with the use of fibre-optic methodology, when declaration forms are being presented, interlinking communication will be used to determine that a particular form is legitimate, and that the individual did in fact travel.
Meanwhile, he said all Jamaicans must buy into a national “clean-up” programme, as this forms part of the good governance policy that the Government wants to emerge over the next couple of years. “We have gone along a path for too long of fiscal irresponsibility, poor governance, corrupt practices and it has gotten us to a point now where our options are very limited,” he argued.
The Minister cited clamping down on, and reducing corruption as a part of fiscal consolidation, which includes the reform of the public sector, “because to the extent that Customs is successful with that, then we get more resources into the national treasury, so that instead of borrowing our way, we are able to earn our way.”
The symposium provided an update on the operations and achievements of Customs, and allowed key stakeholders, such as employees, managers, clients and partners of the department, to raise their concerns and discuss issues integral to the development of the services provided by the entity.