AMCHAM TT wants comprehensive operational overhaul of Customs & Excise Division

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AMCHAM TT wants comprehensive operational overhaul of Customs & Excise Division

On the heels of businesses complaining of the delays in clearing goods at the nation’s ports and airports, the American Chamber of T&T (AMCHAM T&T) is now calling for a comprehensive operational overhaul of the Custom and Excise Division.

In a statement today, AMCHAM T&T said one of the main contributing factors to delays at the ports is the nature and timing of changes in operating procedures.

The Chamber said this has been a constant source of concern when such changes lead to acute challenges.

The business group said it is grateful that some interventions by the Minister of Finance temporarily eased the situation.

However, it noted there have been no sustainable improvements to the processes and procedures that are supposed to enable trade facilitation and therefore improve the ease of doing business, a direct contributor to economic growth.

It said it is also grateful to the Minister for responding to its call with respect to adjusting the short-term roster of staff at the airport.

This change, which went into effect last Friday, resulted in additional appointments and an increase in cargo being cleared.

However, it said while the backlogs have improved, there is more to be done.

Furthermore, the Chamber said it welcomes the Minister’s commitment for streamlining the Joint Consultative Customs Committee (JCCC) and establishing a joint Customs and Private Sector committee to be chaired by a retired Permanent Secretary.

It is calling on the Minister to convene this committee in short order so that the challenges plaguing the clearing of shipments can be dealt with expeditiously.

It added: “While we appreciate that tinkering here and there may result in short-term improvements, it is not a sustainable solution. What is required is a comprehensive operational overhaul of Customs and leadership to achieve this. The reality is that the operations of the nation’s ports need significant improvement which we believe will be easier to attain via collaboration. We stand by ready and are willing to assist.”