Customs director Jose Mafnas announced yesterday another significant increase in revenue collections and fiscal year improvements between 2016 and 2017 following upgrades to detection equipment and operations.
“When comparing revenue collection [between fiscal year] 2016 [and] 2017, the months of October to May collections have moved up by 8.4 percent, which amounts to $2.7 million. This is a direct result of increased detection of undeclared products and re-evaluation of imported goods,” he said.
Mafnas noted that, in addition to the increased detections and efficiency, the collection of outstanding accounts has improved.
“Strict enforcement, which has steadily progressed since last year, has allowed our inspection process to increase revenue generation and allow our officers to better detect suspicious importations,” he said.
According to Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, the total amount of revenue collection from October to May 2017 amounts to a total of $33.8 million with four months left in fiscal year 2017 to take into account.
“Scrutinizing the detection of undervalued high tax rate commodities, detection of undeclared commodities, and increasing the fines and sanctions of counterfeit goods have definitely benefited the economy. Our revenue collections from the Division of Customs have increased every fiscal year. In the same months of [fiscal year] 2016, we collected $29.2 million and in [fiscal year] 2015, $20 million was collected,” Larson said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that customs operations have drastically improved since the Customs Academy was established four years ago.
“With the establishment of the academy and upgrades to the computer system, our seaports, airports, and postal offices and the added support of X-ray machines and the [canine] detection units, so much has changed to safeguard our islands and improve our economy,” Torres said.
He noted that more progress with the “war on ice” is taking center stage.
“More often we are seeing custom officers intercept methamphetamine concealed in small containers that would’ve been difficult to detect in previous years. Our routine inspections at our commuter terminals with the K9 units have also been very successful,” Torres said.
Mafnas said that Customs is regularly trained to ensure all officers are informed of new laws, regulations, and various drug concealment methods.
Adding on to the changes since the “war on ice” began, Mafnas said the division has also procured new equipment to analyze narcotics.
“The TruNarc identifies narcotics, stimulants, and other drugs, which provide our officers with clear definitive results for presumptive identification and quick interception. We will continue to be vigilant at the ports of entry to ensure that illegal drugs are seized and commodities and goods are accounted for,” he said. (PR)