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Customs, Chamber to clamp down on illegal liquor sales

[Press release]  The growing illegal practice of liquor sold at Duty Free prices for export, being consumed on island came under the microscope in the Chamber’s Review at its Getting Down to Business Series.

The growth in Duty Free Sales and the decline in Duty Paid Sales is having a serious impact on Government Revenue and that of the firms who trade in these goods.

On June 22nd the conversation on “Illegal Duty Free Liquor Sales” took place at the Chamber Secretariat. The Meeting was attended by Customs & Excise, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Finance officials, Duty Free Shop Operators as well as a cross section of other Chamber members. The participation of the Ministry of Finance was welcomed and significant as this practice is affecting government revenue.

The Review Meeting agreed on key points including, the need for the Government to enforce the Laws which require that all consumables sold at duty free prices must be delivered to the buyer at the port of departure. The Chamber is of the view that this law and its enforcement, must be respected by Duty Free Shop Owners, tourist and the general public, and should also be free from any outside influence. It was also agreed that it was incumbent upon Government to mount a public education program to explain to the general public the negative effect this illegal practice has on the nations’ finances.

The Chamber has agreed to work with Duty Free Shop Keepers and the Customs and Excise Department to facilitate the easy delivery of goods to Ports of Departure as well as the delivery to the departing passengers.

The Customs & Excise Department also advised that they are developing a New Inventory Management System to support the Duty Free Shop Operators. It was agreed that the Duty Free Operators would be given an opportunity to make an input at the design stage of the system, while the Chamber recommended strongly that the services of a process or systems engineer be engaged as the Inventory Management Systems is designed.

The Chamber will continue to work with its partners to resolve this critical issue and keep members abreast of developments.

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