Saturday, November 19, 2011

NAQIA to improve import permit system for food importers

The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority is working to improve its services to businesses and the public on issuing of import permits.
Representatives of business houses and the public listen to the NAQIA presentation.Pictures by AARON UFORTY of NAQIA

Importers of foodstuff and other goods of plants and animal origin have been advised of proposed changes to come into effect on Jan 1 next year.
NAQIA will provide an option for regular, large-volume importers to plan and apply for multiple entry permits valid for up to six months.
A multiple entry permit system will be beneficial to importers, as it will reduce the number of permit applications and amount of time spent on lodging numerous applications at nearly the same cost.
NAQIA acting managing director Andrew Yamanea explained the new system during a meeting with over 50 representatives from business houses, government and the public last week. 
Yamanea addressing the meeting with importers at Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby last Friday.

Yamanea said the roundtable meeting discussed issues relating to multiple entry permit to imports of food stuff, including groceries of both plant and animal origin, stock feed, rice, flour, fresh fruits and vegetables, UHT milk, noodles, malt, frozen meat and poultry products and other goods of plants and animal origin into PNG, as stipulated under the NAQIA Act 1997, Plant and Disease Control Act, and Animal and Animal Disease Control Act.
Yamanea, who was impressed with the large turnout, said applications for the permits would be limited to clients who imported a specific product on a regular or frequent basis, and would only be for the products that were from a NAQIA-approved source and deemed to be of low bio-security risks.
He said that due to increase in business activities in PNG, NAQIA realised that the current system needed to be reviewed to ensure that it was simpler, there was reduced workload, and payment procedures were also streamlined.
Currently, some importers are applying for permits almost every week, meaning that there is a lot of paperwork involved.
NAQIA, in making the changes, wants to cut down on this workload to enable its staff to concentrate on other important tasks.
Yamanea reiterated during the meeting that NAQIA was mandated to protect the country from unwanted animal and plant pests and diseases and therefore the action was in the best interest of the government, the people and the business sector.
He said PNG was now facing increased business activities due to the PNG LNG project and other developments and must be vigilant in its quarantine and protection roles.
The features of the multiple entry permit include: duration of six months validity; consignments will be subject to normal inspection and charges for inspection and permit fee shall apply which are inclusive; items deemed as low bio-security will be considered; and items deemed as high bio-security will be excluded, such as live organisms of any type, items must be from a NAQIA-approved source.
Yamanea said the meeting was successful and he urged importers and the public with any queries to contact NAQIA office for further clarification.

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