Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Jamaica Customs surpasses collection target for June quarter

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Major Richard Reese, commissioner of customs and head of the Jamaica Customs Agency.

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has surpassed its target for the first fiscal quarter amid signs that implementation of new anti-corruption and under-invoicing software is already curtailing port revenue leakage.

The agency said its three-month target to June was set at just under $42 billion, but collections have surpassed that by six per cent at $44.4 billion. The numbers include customs duty as well as general consumption and special consumption taxes.

"The contributory factors to the agency's revenue out-turn included growth in the tax base, new tax measures and improved compliance effectuated by the Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda World), Jamaica's premier electronic trade system," said the JCA in a statement on Tuesday.

However, the agency, headed by Commissioner of Customs, Major Richard Reese, is signalling that it may not hit its target $48.5 billion in the September quarter, although it has not fully thrown in the towel.

"Whilst there are mitigating circumstances to the achievement of the second quarter's target, there exist equal opportunities for the augmentation of the tax base and, consequently, the tax revenues to be collected by the JCA," its statement read.

The Government of Jamaica, in 2011, signed a series of agreements with the Inter-American Development Bank to automate a number of its procedures at the ports, including the Port Community System (PCS) spearheaded by the Port Authority of Jamaica, Asycuda being rolled out by Customs, and the Revenue Administration Information System at Tax Administration Jamaica. Asycuda operates as a web-based application for transactions. It aims to replace most paper-intensive processes with online procedures that will include payments, manifest submissions and declarations.

The PCS aims to create greater efficiency in the processing of shipments, through real-time access to information by stakeholders, including the Port Authority, Jamaica Customs, regulatory agencies and freight forwarders.

Last week, Minister of Finance Audley Shaw revealed that he challenged Jamaica Customs to increase revenues by up to 40 per cent.

 

BETTER THAN EXPECTED

 

JCA said all three taxes - import duty, GCT and SCT - performed positively relative to the targets for the quarter and prior year. Import duties were 5.4 per cent above the target at the end of June, GCT was 9.35 per cent better than expected, and SCT outperformed its target by 8.0 per cent.

Relative to last year, the respective taxes improved by 29 per cent, 15 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively.

JCA's non-tax revenue also busted its target at $3.56 billion compared to a target $3.42 billion, and was up six per cent relative to collections in the comparative period last year.

"The drivers of the quarter's revenue were automotive diesel oil, motor spirits (unleaded 87 and 90), cigarettes and motor vehicles. Other significant contributors included cellular phones, tiles, bus and car tyres, motor vehicle parts and accessories, communication apparatus, lubricating oils, televisions and refrigerators," the JCA said.

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