Delay in clearing goods an abnormality – GRA Deputy Chief
– says businesses have option to escalate complaints
Reports of containers of goods being delayed on wharves are not supposed to happen, with Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan urging businesses to escalate complaints they may have about the processing system.
This is especially so, if such businesses would have satisfied all criteria for having their goods cleared, but are still faced with delays. Khan reminded that there is a system that is followed in such a scenario.
“I’ve not received those reports myself, but we can look into it just to see that that’s so. And there’s a procedure that can be followed if a lengthy time is being taken with processing. They can escalate the issue,” she said.
According to Khan, clearing goods is not supposed to take an inordinately lengthy time. However, she explained that there could be several reasons behind such delays; reasons that could be the fault of the importer.
“There can be several reasons. Usually, its persons not paying their taxes. Or it could be they have some document outstanding. Or there’s an error in the document they submitted,” Khan explained.
“If it does take long there must be a reason for it and they need to query it. So, they need to come in or they can just call in and find out why it talking long. There are persons they can contact, including the head of customs. And if there’s no explanation being given, they can always go higher, to myself or the Commissioner General.”
Last year, a container mobile scanner was introduced at the Guyana National Industrial Company Incorporated (GNIC) scanner site, as complaints about the sloth of processing containers had become pronounced.
The GRA had also announced that in keeping with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Authority and the GNIC, a fee of $20,000 would be charged by them for any container scanned at the Lombard Street facility.
They had announced that this measure was necessary to recoup the GNIC’s administration costs and allow for a return on its capital investment. However, they had advised importers and exporters that fees associated with manual inspections for containers scanned would be waived.
“Guyana is now in a position to adequately scan containers on a continual basis thereby facilitating reduced trade transaction costs and time of both imports and exports while simultaneously improving revenue collection,” a statement from GRA had said.
“Universal scanning of outbound containers is mandatory in keeping with international maritime conventions on trade facilitation. The GRA also wishes to advise that in partnership with its sister agencies, relief measures will be implemented to ease traffic congestion and facilitate faster scanning of containers,” the authority had announced.