JIS News

Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, said that the Jamaica Customs Department will be implementing a new policy on the importation of alcohol for the hotel sector.

Providing details at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce's (JCC) annual customs seminar at the Wyndham Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (Sept. 27), he informed that distributors, who import alcohol on behalf of hoteliers, will be asked to pay full duty upfront after which a "de nova" entry to claim their refunds will be effected.

However, hoteliers who import the alcohol directly will continue to enjoy the concessionary rate, which now obtains.

"The rationale for this decision relates to the significant leakage of revenue that has been taking place and serious concerns regarding non-compliance or tardiness in terms of delay in submitting those entries," Major Reese explained.

He noted that the Customs Department has already held meetings with the alcohol distributors, which have resulted in the formulation of an agreement on the policy.

"We are currently working out the modalities, which are at a very advanced stage," he stated.

Turning to other matters, the Customs Head informed that the Department seized some $177 million worth of counterfeit cigarettes at the island's ports at the beginning of September.

The counterfeit 'Craven A' cigarettes included some 715 master cases, each worth about $247,500 each in street value. The illicit tobacco trade, he said, is causing significant loss of revenue for the government.