One of the country’s main revenue centres, the Customs and Excise Division, has reported that collected revenue in 2022 has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels with a 12 percent increase recorded when compared with 2021’s performance.
Comptroller of Customs, Raju Boddu, reported that for the year just ended, collections topped EC$382.09 million in comparison to 2021’s EC$ 338.62 million, an increase of EC$ 43.47 million or 12.84 percent.
He described 2022 as “a recovery year” and noted that the division has been able to “claw” its way back to near pre-COVID revenue levels, and this has been achieved in spite of the fact that oil revenues have dried up.
“The pre-COVID year yielded EC$ 389.55 million, which means that the gap was only EC$ 7.46 million, or 1.96 percent less than 2019,” Boddu explained.
The comptroller said his department performed commendably as it continued to facilitate trade with the business community and executed the Christmas Barrel Initiative. He praised his staff for their contribution to the successes recorded by the division.
“The year 2022 may have been long and challenging, but through resilience and collaborative course of action, we contributed directly to the success of not only the department, but the nation of Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.
Boddu also commended the department for the measures that have been implemented to modernise its operations.
“We have made significant steps in modernising and reforming, namely the looming update of ASYCUDA World 4.2.2, coupled with the relaunch of our website, various training opportunities afforded to different officers, which encapsulated the 2022 World Customs Organization theme “Scale up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem,” he said.
SOURCE: Pointe Xpress