|Major improvements shortly for city port |
By Rachael Espinet Tuesday, January 28 2014
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Sixty people have been assigned to the Customs and Excise Division by Finance Minister, Larry Howai, to address the issues of short staffing in the Division.
This was revealed yesterday by Howai at the Division’s recognition of International Customs Day, 2014.
The announcement comes two weeks after the news of a multi-million dollar cocaine bust at the Port-of-Norfolk in Virginia, USA. The cocaine was shipped in a container coming from the Port of Port-of-Spain.
“We have assigned 60 new persons to the Division, and I expect that these persons will be in place by the beginning of March,” Howai said.
He noted advertisements to fill the vacant positions were placed in the media last year and that the number on staff would be increased in the coming months.
Howai said strengthening Customs by providing the Division with the necessary tools and personnel had become one of the key initiatives that is being undertaken by Government.
The minister also reminded that four mobile container scanners are expected to be delivered from the United States by the end of June. A large X-ray scanner from the government of China has already been delivered, and will be fully in
place on the Port by the end of February.
“These mobile container scanners will improve our ability to closely monitor shipments both entering, and leaving our ports.”
Howai further noted the integration of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and Single Electronic Window (SEW) systems are at an advanced stage and full integration is expected by the end of February.
He also referred to amendments to the Customs Act, which will allow for the exchange of advanced cargo and passenger information that facilitates faster clearance from the air and sea ports.
The Customs and Excise Division can expect to move into a fully outfitted building before the end of the year as preliminary works have already commenced for the move.
“We are also developing new training programmes to enhance the capability of our officers and their sensitivity to the concerns of the travelling public and legitimate business enterprises,” Howai said.