A meeting between senior Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) officials and the Suriname Customs & Excise Department in Nickerie, Suriname, has resulted in several agreements and a streamlined Berbice customs. According to a GRA press release yesterday, at that meeting the Guyana delegation was shown Customs clearance documents submitted by captains of boats leaving Guyana for Nickerie, Suriname and a perusal of the documents revealed forged signatures of Customs officers and forged Customs stamp.
Several agreements were made at the meeting which has greatly minimized the level of tax evasion, the release stated.
The meeting also discussed the mutual exchange of information and joint operations for the control of trading activities between Guyana and Suriname.
Meanwhile, a dedicated communication linkage has been established for senior officials of GRA and the Suriname Customs and Excise Department.
Jameel Baksh, Head, Integrated Regional Tax Offices, is quoted as saying that, “this linkage has resulted in the daily exchange of information between the two countries, in respect of the number of boats entering and leaving both countries legally and the quantity and description of goods being imported and exported.”
In addition, “the requisite Customs documents required for boats leaving Guyana for Suriname, specimen signatures of GRA officers authorized to sign Customs documents and a specimen of the approved stamp were sent to the Suriname Customs,” Baksh said.
He also noted that, “the new initiative and the excellent cooperation received from the Suriname Customs Department has resulted in more boats reporting to the Customs at Corriverton for clearances and returning to Berbice with cargo for the payment of applicable duties and taxes.” Correspondingly, there has been an increase in revenue collection in Berbice, the release noted. Boats leaving Corriverton, Berbice for Nickerie must fulfill the required procedures before they are allowed to load merchandise destined for Suriname.
In the meantime, the functions of the Berbice Anti-Smuggling Squad (BASS) have been streamlined with responsibilities for enforcement activities which include patrolling the waterways and roads to suppress smuggling activities.
In addition, a Revenue Protection Unit, similar to
GRA’s Georgetown operations has been established within BASS.
This unit is responsible for the examination of Customs entries to review values, description, and classification of goods and will also determine when examination of goods should occur.
And Customs staff at the Corriverton Integrated Tax Office are now solely responsible for the discharge, storage and processing of import documents, examination and release of goods imported into Guyana from Suriname, the release added.