Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Proper disposal of items within SEZs crucial, says Customs

Published:Sunday | February 23, 2020 | 12:29 AM
Lieutenant Colonel Everton Morgan: It took a while for persons to understand why we have to check these items.
Lieutenant Colonel Everton Morgan: It took a while for persons to understand why we have to check these items.

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is reminding occupants of the special economic zones (SEZ) that they are required to seek the entity’s assistance when disposing of imported items.

“We should receive a letter from the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) to issue a certificate in regard to the disposal of items within the special economic zones,” said manager of Freeport Export and Trans-shipment Unit at JCA, Lieutenant Colonel Everton Morgan.

“The JCA, before issuing this certificate for the disposal, will have to check these items against the IM9 document used to import them into the zone.”

Morgan was speaking at a recent sensitisation session hosted by the JSEZA, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, targeting SEZ developers and occupants.

He noted that the majority of requests from SEZ operators to dispose of items are from the business process outsourcing companies, and encouraged other entities to follow suit.

JCA’s responsibility

He explained that the JCA has a responsibility to account for all goods leaving and entering the island, as well as the intended use and distribution of these items.

“I would have seen hundreds of chairs and furniture that are unrepairable and we have to physically go and check these items. It took a while for persons to understand why we have to check these items,” Morgan said.

“These checks help with our auditing purposes and to maintain transparency within the SEZs. We are asking occupants to cooperate with us and ensure that the items to be checked are easily accessible on the day of inspection.”

Under the Customs Act, goods imported into SEZ by developers and occupants are exempt from duties. Therefore, the usage (including disposal) of these goods must be declared.

Morgan noted that after the necessary checks are done, the JCA senior director writes to the financial secretary within the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, advising of the disposal request from JSEZA.

The JCA senior director will then grant approval based on the guidance of the financial secretary.

“After approval for the disposal is granted, we coordinate with regulatory bodies such as the National Environment and Planning Agency and disposal companies, based on the type of items to be disposed of,” Morgan shared.

He said that the destruction of items comes under Customs Procedure Code 9500, and an internal audit representative and a customs officer must be present when the goods are being transported from the zone to the site of destruction.