The PNG Customs Service has collected a total of K613.112 million from Customs duties and excise and an additional K273.09 million from import GST during the first quarter of 2021.

These revenue collection figures have exceeded the first quarter revenue collections target set by the Government by 7 percent, or K41.73 million.

Customs Chief Commissioner David Towe said the ‘higher than the Government budget projected revenue’ collected in the first quarter demonstrated increased compliance necessitated by strong border control and security measures by Customs.

Key to that is the ‘red lane intervention’ initiated by the Chief Commissioner and stringently administered and enforced plus the prepayment facility.

“Customs is set to reach or exceed the Governments overall budget projection for 2021 if the current trend of revenue collection is maintained,” the Chief Commissioner added.    

Disecting the first quarter’s collection the Chief Commissioner explained that the “Revenue collected from imports (Import duties, Import excise and Import GST) were all slightly lower than their respective quarterly targets however revenue from inland excise and sundry collections were robust, each exceeding their respective quarterly targets thereby offseting the shortfalls from imports revenue.”

“The Customs performance for the first quarter of 2021 has not been easy against the backdrop of disruptive operating environment precipitated by Covid 19 and consequential avalanche of insecurities, uncertainties and devastations,” the Chief Commissioner stated further. “The Customs automation, Asycuda World, driven and supported by the robust ICT platform proved very successful in providing the leverage for Customs resilience, as we continued  to facilitate legitimate international trade whilst ensuring border and supply chain security and collected revenue for the State.”

The Chief Commissioner said in order to continue and maintain the positive trend of revenue collection, Customs will increase and strengthen its enforcement and compliance activities.

“Customs is also committed to implementing strategies outlined in the Medium Term Revenue Strategy (MTRS) to minimize revenue leakage and net maximum revenue due to the State,” he stated.

“Customs will target strategic revenue recovery programs of prepayments, reconciliation of hanging entries and also convene consultations with customs brokers and importers in its effort to net more revenue in 2021.”

He said Customs enforcement and border control units will strive to secure the border and protect it from outside and future threats through effective administration and enforcement of compliance regimes. This will include strengthening of the manifest screening process to identify cargo that may require physical intervention. The management has taken serious step to ensuring that critical units such as the Intelligent and Profiling, Enforcements, Post Clearance Audit and Regional Operations are adequately staffed, trained and remunerated/incentivized to facilitate legitimate trade and promote compliance.

He further added that Customs will continue to embrace innovative interventions and world best practices to strengthen its border security to facilitate legitimate international trade in a safe, secure and agile trading environment to promote sustainable trade and investment in the country, which are key to anchoring long term economic growth and prosperity. The Chief Commissiner also called on the business community to continue to work together with Customs to fight smuggling and illicit activities by reporting suspicious activities to Customs.