Juffa says Customs has plans for better border security

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011

THE PNG Customs Services has stepped up to increase its trade capacity especially with the LNG and other major projects imposing significant challenges in the immense volumes of overseas cargo.
It is also understood that the increase in the movement of people in relation to the economic boom that is taking off is placing the department under constraints.
PNG Custom services commissioner, Gary Juffa told The National yesterday that Customs has restructured its organisation in an effort to create positions to accommodate the economic growth and for the increased movement of vessels, goods and people across the country’s borders.
He added that Customs had reviewed its capacity and made changes that would allow for a 24-hour trading system to be operated so trade could be carried on unhindered while vigilance was maintained in detecting and preventing offences.
It is understood that Customs has already created a user-pay system to charge traders a small fee for maintaining the trade facilitation process efficiently and doing away with unnecessary overtime charges.
“Customs will pay overtime to its officers from the user pay system known as ‘CUSTA’.
“Customs would also ensure there are funds for a 24-hour response capability in PNG to border security concerns as well as attending to officers’ welfare needs such as housing and risk allowances.
“We hope to be able to put all this to work when we move to our new location later this year and are able to accommodate the increase in logistics and staff,” Juffa said.
He said he was mindful of the needs of officers and would ensure that Customs cultivate loyalty, promote a corporate and professional philosophy and retain good quality staff who would continue to serve productively.
“We have already lost several officers to the LNG project and we do not want to lose any more.
“We need to provide an attractive working environment with necessary privileges, especially housing for officers.”
Such privileges, Juffa said, would help retain officers to serve Customs.