TTMA calls on gov’t to act swiftly and rectify issues at nation’s ports

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TTMA calls on gov’t to act swiftly and rectify issues at nation’s ports

The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA), Tricia Coosal, is calling for the Government to act swiftly to rectify these inefficiencies at the country’s ports.

This after top officials from the Customs and Excise Division told a Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Wednesday that 19,000 containers entered over an eight-month period without being properly scanned, due to the lack of operational scanners and proper staff numbers.

Coosal said: “The reports of these scanners not working are concerning and its negative impact on the ease of doing business cannot be denied.”

“There is also the challenge of many illegal items finding their way into the country and into the hands of unscrupulous persons. Importantly, as well, is the Government not getting their due revenues based on the evasion of proper customs duties to be applied on goods,” she added.

She said: “Traditionally, TTMA has lobbied for greater efficiency on the port and has, in the past, welcomed the introduction of scanners to aid in this efficiency.

Coosal pointed out that with Christmas approaching, this means the volume of goods that must be moved on the port increases and she added that these delays due to inefficiencies at the ports have a real cost to manufacturers as companies incur demurrage and other charges.

Additionally, she said, “without efficiencies that would allow for the faster clearance of goods, it can result in slowing of production and exports—all of which is not good for the manufacturing sector that is growing and meeting the call to expand operations.”

Coosal said, “The concern for consumers’ safety is heightened as illicit trade is allowed to proliferate without the proper inspection of goods. These include goods which have not been tested as safe for human consumption or use and goods that do not have proper labels for consumers to understand what they are using.”

The TTMA is calling for the Government to act “swiftly to rectify these inefficiencies, which place an unnecessary burden on manufacturers in their daily operations.”