Customs Revenue Slumps

Revenue collected from Customs duties and excise has slumped in this quarter, compared to the first quarter of this year.

A total of K890 million in taxes was collected in the first quarter of 2021 fiscal year.

PNG Customs Service Commissioner, David Towe revealed this, however, he did not reveal how much of a drop from the first quarter was made, but he said this slump is because of the drop in trade globally.

He said there is still the need to ensure compliance to help rectify this drop in revenue collection.

“In the first three months we were able to exceed our revenue projections and that came at the back of some improved compliance activities. We collected in excess of close to K50 million in unpaid taxes.

“We had conducted a revenue recovery exercise that went very well. We not only collected revenue but we also uncovered where the system collapsed, all the loopholes where the revenue leakages were,” Mr Towe said.

He said however, they started noticing that for two or three consecutive weeks in this quarter, revenue started dropping. To address this, Customs was to beef up on compliance and to make sure they check every import so that nothing is missed and revenue collection is maintained.

 “We also have to ensure that we maintain control because not every importer is compliant and there will always be some who will try to cut corners to get away, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The most recent example is the importer who was caught.

“We cannot say that all importers are being compliant so we need to be extra vigilant to ensure every importer is clearing their cargo at the right quantity and rates.”

Mr Towe added that in the last check, Customs revenue picked up again and over the last two or three weeks and credited this to improvements in monitoring and maintaining control.

He projects a steady increase in revenue going into the next quarter, so long as due diligence is carried out and compliance is ensured for all imports. 

Melissa Wokasup