Prime Minister lauds work of Customs employees

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BASETTERE, St. Kitts, Oct. 29, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has praised workers in the   Customs and Excise Department who have played their part in having St. Kitts Nevis recognised as the best facilitator of processing cross border trade in the English speaking Caribbean
Harris, who was the guest speaker on Saturday at the Department’s Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, said the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Report bestowed the international  accolade on the country.
“Time equals money, and shorter processing times enable the Department’s customers to quickly go about their business of being productive, making money and keeping their own customers happy and satisfied, and having sufficient time to attend to other activities.“Our processing times are way ahead of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) average. The report found, for instance, that while it takes 65 hours on average to process documents and clear goods at Latin American and Caribbean ports, it takes 37 hours on average at St. Kitts and Nevis’ ports. That’s 57 per cent less time, or one and a half days here in St. Kitts and Nevis as opposed to roughly three days elsewhere.
“The Central Bank indicates that our economy has been growing year after year: 4 years in a row from 2015 to 2018 and that our economy will do even better in the medium term. Our Customs and Excise Department has been doing its fair share of growth. During Sunday’s church service I mentioned that the EC$139.2 million collected by this Department, as at October 18, compares favourably with the $126 million collected for the comparative period in 2017.
“The increase of EC$13.2 million represents a 10.48 per cent increase in comparative collections. Remarkably, all of this took place in the context of no increases in the tax rates for which the Customs and Excise Department is responsible to collect”   Harris said. 
“This is a testament to the Department’s administrative efficiency, which was duly recognized in the World Bank Group’s report.”
The Prime Minister also hailed  the intellectual father of the US Customs Service – Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis.
He also reminded employees   that the Customs & Excise Department is tasked with protecting the security and integrity of the country’s borders.
“Indeed, the Customs & Excise Department not only protects our borders, but it also protects and bolsters our country’s financial foundation. Given that St. Kitts and Nevis is classified as a high-income country, we are not eligible for concessional funding. Therefore, most of our capital expenditures have to be funded by our revenue collections.”
“I encourage the public to continue working with our professional and courteous Customs officers and other collections officials, so that together we can build an even more solid financial foundation for you, your children and future generations,” the Prime Minister said.

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