Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:As the Jamaica Customs Department continues to seek out new ways to keep pace with the changes in the environment in which it operates, it is now exploring fresh ideas to fulfil its revenue-collection mandate, among other things.
This was highlighted during a church service in Montego Bay on Sunday held to mark the start of the Customs Department's annual week of activities, which spans January 20 to 26.
"As we keep pace with the changes in the environment in which we operate and make the requisite preparations to transition to an executive agency, our management staff has embraced the concept of innovation in fulfilling our mandate of revenue collection, border protection, and trade facilitation," said Florence Howe, deputy commissioner of Customs.
According to Howe, in recent years, the Jamaica Customs Department has improved its data-management and information-dissemination mechanisms to influence voluntary compliance. This involves the use of even more innovative systems of communication and providing high-quality customer service to clients.
"We are truly committed to business-process re-engineering, the promotion of novel ideas for increased efficiency, and enhancing our operations to give the best service to our clients," said Howe.
BUILDING THE ECONOMY
The deputy commissioner of customs also outlined some specific contributions the organisation has made in recent times to positively affect Jamaica's economy.
"Customs officers are well aware of our role in maintaining the economic viability of the Jamaican economy. This was most recently seen in the J$9.61 billion in revenue that was collected for the first three quarters of the financial year 2012-2013," stated Howe.
"There has also been an increase in seizures of illegal items, which some persons seem intent on traversing across our borders," Howe continued. "We have sought continuously to improve our business processes to reflect international standards and also our information communication technology for added efficiency as we do business with our stakeholders," she added.
At the service, which was held at the Burchell Baptist Church, St James Custos Ewen Corrodus, implored the Customs representatives to act on their chosen theme 'Innovation for Customs Progress' in dealing with their business partners.
"Innovation not only increases our efficiency, but it also serves as a useful tool in maintaining good relationships with both customers and staff," said Corrodus. "I also want to encourage all our citizens to cooperate with you as you continue to make Customs' operations more efficient and customer-friendly."