Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 03, 2017 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis has ranked number one in the CARICOM in trading across borders according to the “2016 Doing Business Report”, says Kennedy DeSilva, Deputy Comptroller of Customs in the Office of the Comptroller, appearing on today’s radio-television show “Working for You” on January 25.
He said that the Customs and Excise Department has worked hard to become a high ranking country and explained that to achieve this the World Bank looks at all the countries around the world and sets up a basic scenario.
“They look at things like what does it take or what is involved for a business to import 144 containers into your business, the time it takes to clear the goods; how is it to pay the taxes; what the technical requirement are; how much documentation you require and that sort of thing. So it judges you based on that standard.”
The deputy comptroller said that the bank may also consult the broker community, Customs and the shipping association to get different opinions.
“So we were fortunate that last year, by our international standard we’re are at 72. If you look at Latin America and the Caribbean, we are number seven and if you look at CARICOM we are number one,” said Mr. DeSilva, in referring to trading across borders.
He said that to get there was not an easy feat as there was a lot of competition.
“We used the automation a lot, we used risk management a lot, we used selectivity a lot so that we target only what we need to target and this is a smarter approach of doing things and that was a result of that. We are pleased with that.”
Also pleased was Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who mentioned the rankings in his address at a church service on Sunday, January 22, to officially open Customs and Excise Department’s Week of Activity.
“This is, by far, a laudable commendation for the work of the Customs and Excise Department because at closer examination of this World Bank ranking, it must be understood that the report surveys the level of satisfaction of the local business community, customs brokers and other stakeholders in our local trading sector,” he said. “Our Customs and Excise Department must continue to demonstrate that sound data collection and analysis will always be the central focus of its reform efforts in the post-implementation phase of the ASYCUDA World platform.”
Mr. DeSilva said that going forward the department is working to become number one in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“It is hoped that one day we may be right up there with countries such as Singapore,” he said. “Why while we are not like a G7 (Group of Seven) country where we have an unlimited amount of resources and money, I think we are small enough to be nimble and we should use that to our advantage.”