THE Papua New Guinea Customs Services has recorded K1.06 billion in revenue from January to July, The National reports.
That is K86 million or 9% more than the forecast amount of K974.35 million, Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa yesterday.
He said that meant the service had collected K80 million more than expected.
Juffa said the result was another tremendous effort despite the service being under-staffed and having a tight budget.
“We are still struggling with limited resources although we received a generous budget allocation, we would have liked more but we were still able to do well,” he said.
“I believe that we could easily double the amount if we had the exact funding we had requested and were able to fully staff the agency, pay better benefits to officers and carry out out more audits and other revenue recovery programmes.
“This work is done by the hardworking customs officers throughout PNG who deserve decent wages, housing and other benefits,” Juffa said.
He said to address the issue of funding of such benefits, Customs had presented a submission to the Treasury Department to retain 50% of the proceeds of all seized goods and 50% of all penalties applied and collected to ensure a 24-hour response capability for enforcement in PNG, a 24-hour trading system to ensure that industry was not in any way delayed with legitimate trade and to fund continuous Customs and inter-agency enforcement operations as well as address staff welfare.
He said the submission was being reviewed by the Treasury Department before it was passsed on to the minister for deliberation and endorsement and finally to cabinet.
“It is important to ensure that we are able to react in a timely manner to detect and intercept smuggling and other such transnational crimes and protect the interests of the people of PNG and the economy,” Juffa said.
“I am mindful of the delays and costs associated to industry as from processing of their imports and exports and wish to improve efficiency to reduce cost of doing business in PNG.
“It is important to ensure that vital revenues necessary for nation-building are effectively collected or recovered.
“To do this, we need a honest and effective workforce and to ensure that we need to remunerate officers and give them proper benefits,” he said.