JIS News

Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern, has commended the Jamaica Customs Department for working closely with the Ministry, in cleaning up the local scrap metal trade. Speaking at a stakeholders’ symposium, hosted by Customs at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston on Wednesday (January 27), Mr. Stern said that the Ministry will continue to support efforts to ensure that the scrap metal sector remains compliant with the Trade Act.
“The scrap metal industry earns money, but then it has destructive forces within it and we have had to spend a lot of time, within the last two years, to work closely with Customs to develop a policy framework to control the rogue type of industry that used to exist where scrap metal is concerned,” he explained.
Mr. Stern commended the efficiency which, he said, has resulted in the examination and processing of nearly 4,000 scrap metal containers, between April and December 2009.
“The Department’s vigilance has resulted in the detention of six of these containers, which were found to have metals of questionable origins, including railway lines, bridge parts, telephone communications and electrical cable,” he informed the forum.
He expressed confidence that the measures being implemented by Customs would, over time, improve Jamaica’s standing in the annual Doing Business survey, which ranked the country 75th for ease of doing business among 183 countries, in its 2010 report. These initiatives included implementation of an authorised economic operator system, which has resulted in shorter processing time for compliant importers and custom brokers; e-commerce initiatives to facilitate online transactions; and the one stop shop facility, giving importers and exporters access, in one location, to a range of services offered by government agencies.
“The government is committed to modernising our public sector, removing obstacles to doing business in Jamaica, and this customs department has a big role to play,” he stated.
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 department.