Government to assist customs

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 3, 2011

THE government is committed to helping customs improve its operations, Education Minister and Tari-Pori MP James Marape says.
Speaking at the opening of the 13th Annual Oceanic Customs Organisation (OCO) conference at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby yesterday, Marape told heads of customs services from other Pacific Island nations PNG was a land of many cultures and tribes and “is strategically located in the Asia Pacific region making the work of customs very important”.
He said recognising this, the government had given K5 million to PNG customs last year and planned to release another K35 million this year to the organisation to buy two new container X-ray machines from Australia for installation at Port Moresby and Lae.
Marape said the government foresaw the importance of customs in the development of the country and had separated its functions from the Internal Revenue Commission last year.
That, he said, had resulted in the organisation posting K1.9 billion in revenue for the state.
Marape said the government was looking forward to embracing and implementing some of the resolutions and outcomes that would be reached at the end of the conference.
He said PNG stood ready to help and learn from other regional partners.
“PNG is a transit point to Australia, Asia and the Pacific, hence it is prone to illegal trans-border activities,” he said.
He made specific reference to the theme of the conference, saying “knowledge” was paramount if customs organisations in the region were to function effectively and achieve their objectives of protecting people and community and raising revenue for their respective governments.