At the beginning of this month (August 2012), I had the pleasure of launching the Customs 2011 Annual Report.
This report captures Customs' remarkable achievements and successes in 2011 and is a testament to the relentless efforts of the Customs management and staff.
Some of the major highlights included in the 2011 Annual Report include;
- The collection of a total of K2.31billion in revenue for the State, which was K219.25 million more than the 2011 budget estimate of K2.086 billion;
- The seizure of four vessels including all the cargo on board which were sold through public tender by Customs which raised more than K6 million in additional revenue;
- Joint operations conducted with the assistance of Police and line agencies detected smuggling activities, contrabands, evasion of duties, bribery and undervaluation. These resulted in the imposition of administrative penalties and recovery of a substantial amount of evaded duties;
- The imposition of administration penalties of K15, 437 on a foreign vessel that failed to declare goods;
- The establishment of the Customs User-Pay Trust Account or CUSTA, which netted over K3 million in collections of service fees;
- The implementation of the Customs Service Plan that aligns with MTDP (2010-2015).
- Commencement of preparatory work for the container examination facility (CEF) in Lae;
- Hosting of the 13th Annual Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) meeting in Port Moresby;
- Launching of the Customs Strategic Risk Management Plan;
- Operation x-mas gift, which resulted in the detection of substantial breach of the Customs Act and evasion of duties, which were met with substantial seizure and hefty administrative penalties;
- And domestic and international MOUs were signed to allow for mutual cooperation, assistance and systematic exchange of information and intelligence.
This does not go without admitting that 2011 was also a very challenging year for the PNG Customs Service. Whist undergoing transition and establishment, it was exposed to enormous challenges that come with the increasing volume of international trade and travel owing to the boom in the oil and mineral sector of the country. Added to these challenges were the shortage of manpower, lack of adequate resources and facilities. However, PNG Customs Management's prudent planning and effective management with the support of our Australian counterparts through the Strongim Gavman Program (SGP) had seen PNG Customs continue to thrive in its service delivery to the Government and people of Papua New Guinea.
The areas of focus for Customs in 2012 include;
- Completing recruitment by confirming existing staff to acting positions and employing new staff against vacancies including the position of Commissioner of Customs;
- Relocating PNG Customs headquarters and Southern Region to a new office space;
- Building institutional capacity by establishing and staffing corporate service areas and the professional development of Customs officers in strategic management and specialist Customs training;
- Implementing construction and installation of the Container X-ray Examining Facilities in Lae and Port Moresby;
- Implementing institutional Housing for PNG Customs staff;
- Establishing a PNG Customs Training Academy;
- Optimizing the use of information and communication technology throughout all ports and areas of Customs functions;
- Progressing and completing external job advertisements to accomplish organizational structure staffing capacity;
- And reviewing of the old and development of the new Customs Service Plan.
Customs has done well and will continue to deliver with exemplary results in the performance of its mandated core functions of border security, international travel & trade facilitation, community protection and revenue collection.