Greater efficiency, security with modern equipment, systems at local ports – Finance Minister

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The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in collaboration with the owners of key ports in the capital Georgetown has successfully merged systems to ensure greater efficiency and security through an online integrated customs management system that fast-tracks the clearance process.

Joined by Commissioner General of the GRA Godfrey Statia, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh Wednesday hailed the new pre-payment system as a success. They both toured the John Fernandes and the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNIC) wharves.

During the visits Dr. Singh also reflected on the government’s direct investments in scanner technology which has led to an ease in the clearance process.

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh during his inspection on Wednesday (Photo: DPI/ December 21, 2022)

“Those are investments we have been making over time to ensure that at all ports of entry we have the capability to scan cargo.

“We have introduced systems and methodology within GRA with the objective of deploying technology and data for more efficient customs operations and import transactions,” Dr. Singh said.

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh (second left), GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia (left) and other officials during his inspection on Wednesday (Photo: DPI/ December 21, 2022)

The scanners have allowed for fewer packages and containers to undergo detailed inspection with the pre-payment system also reducing the contact between the customs officials and the importers, Dr. Singh noted.

“Teams are trained to read results on the scanning machine and determine immediately with an overwhelming majority of cases which package can be cleared for immediate release.

Containers at a Georgetown port (Photo: DPI/ December 21, 2022)

Currently, 80 percent of imports are flagged green. This means that there is no need for further detailed inspection as the package is low risk.

This is augmented by other technology and techniques including risk profiling and risk management.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Statia also saw first-hand recent upgrades to these port facilities.

Mr. Statia said the merging systems with the port authority and GRA had yielded great results.

“The port owners collect on behalf of GRA and minimize the importer’s contact with GRA.

“It frees up the system. 75% of all imports are given green light and with the prepaid system there is no need to interact with GRA staff,” he added.

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