Another topic discussed at yesterday's business forum was the implementation of the ASYCUDA World system at the customs department.
It is an Automated System for Customs Data, basically a computerized system designed to automate the processes of Customs Administration - thus eliminating opportunities for graft and corruption - which means greater revenues for Government.
Comptroller of customs Gregory Gibson told the business community that the system will also reward those who play by the rules and expideite the celaring of their containers:..
Gregory Gibson, Comptroller of Customs
"What does importers feel about the Asycuda system? Well at the end of the day we want to reward compliant importers, those individuals who will be able to share information with GST or Income Tax department or the Bureau of Standards and be satisfied that importations are above board and we even expect that at the end of this process, in those compliant importers, there may be limited examinations. Meaning that we will be operating a green red light system, where importers who are compliant will get a green light system and will be able to extract their containers without any examination by the customs department."
"I am also happy to say, that Belize I am being advice, is the first country that will allow online payment of duties. We are presently working with the Atlantic Bank, which means that you will be able to sit at your desk in your office or in your house, and make your payment. Your trucking company or your broker will then simply have to go and make arrangement for the removal of the container from the Port."
"And so, In regards to the issue of corruption, we want to say then that does elements who refuse to be compliant, who continue to find ways to evade the duties, those will feel the full brunt of the processes that are in place. Examinations will be long and deliberate; the entire process will be monitored."
Sounds good, but believers in Murphy's law will be glad to know that Implementation of Asycuda was set for 24 months and is now lagging behind at 30 months.
The Prime Minister says he hopes Asycuda succeeds in quote, "eliminating the disadvantage to those that virtue now holds hostage."