St. Kitts and Nevis observes Customs and Excise Day under the global theme “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management”

(SKNIS): Customs and Excise organizations globally play an integral role in developing the global business instead of increasing the risks of international security. Against this backdrop, Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department will join the rest of the world in celebrating International Customs Day (ICD) on Thursday, January 26, under the theme “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management”.

In his address to commence the local Customs and Excise week of activities for 2017, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, commented on the theme, noting that the Customs and Excise Department plays a very important role with regards to generating data.

“Data generated through the functions of the Customs and Excise Department have been, and continue to be, instrumental in gauging the growth of both Government and private sector activities in the Federation,” said the minister of finance. “Through its daily functions in trade facilitation, stakeholder compliance, border security and yes, revenue collection, Customs generates data that credibly assist our Government in shaping key social, fiscal and monetary policy decisions, as well as to monitor their effective implementation. Customs import data of a given commodity gives insight to an organization of the true size of a product’s market and the share of the market that product assumes. Such data help to guide corporate decisions along the path of business opportunity and expansion.”

The minister of finance said that the Customs data have been useful in showing the direct impact of concessions to companies. Another area highlighted was the incoming arrivals and departures to the islands.

“At our borders, Customs data have been at the heart of the expeditious yet highly reliable processing of travelers and their baggage. While the number of visitors to our islands continues to grow and traffic increases at our borders, which are welcomed signs of sustainable growth in our tourism sector, Customs-generated data continue to assist our planners in determining the adequacy and sustainability of our port facilities to accommodate such growing inflows, in the medium to long terms,” said Prime Minister Harris. “It was through careful analysis of Customs data that Customs Management was able in December of 2011 to implement new passenger processing measures at our airports. This has since allowed for safe yet faster processing of our nationals and our visitors upon arrival.”

Prime Minister Harris made mention of the World Bank’s 2016 publication of the annual ‘Doing Business Report’, adding that it reflects the reliability of the Customs Data generated by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department which was ranked 72nd worldwide. Such ranking places St. Kitts and Nevis first in all of CARICOM and seventh in all of Latin America and the Caribbean in the effectiveness of trading goods across borders.

“This is, by far, a laudable commendation for the work of the Customs and Excise because at closer examination of this World Bank ranking, it must be understood that the report surveys the level of satisfaction of the local business community, customs brokers and other stakeholders in our local trading sector,” he said. “Our Customs and Excise Department must continue to demonstrate that sound data collection and analysis will always be the central focus of its reform efforts in the post-implementation phase of the ASYCUDA World platform.”

The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is a computerized customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures. The system handles manifests and customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures. ASYCUDA generates trade data that can be used for statistical economic analysis. According to Prime Minister Harris, the programme has helped officers to speed up the time for processing the goods from ship to shelf in a more timely yet border-secure manner.

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