Rotary Club of Lucaya Learns of Modernized Bahamas Customs Department

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — Sherick “Sharky” Martin, assistant controller of Bahamas Customs, Northern Bahamas, presented the topic, “A Modern Bahamas Customs” to the Rotary Club of Lucaya at its weekly meeting, August 2, at Ruby Swiss Restaurant.

Mrtin discussed the role of the Bahamas Customs Department and explained: “Our department has promoted over the years a harmonized and simplified customs procedures aimed at facilitating trade that will enhance economic prosperity and social development.

“We have recently introduced the EDI initiative or Electronic Data Interface which allows the customs broker to enter shipments electronically to the entry checking division of the Customs Department for approval,” he said. “No longer would you have to wait in line to have your entry checked by an officer; the Government mandated all entries to be submitted electronically by the end of July, 2016,” he said.

 Martin discussed the amendments to regulation 108. “We say to the couriers you must list all of the goods on a manifest and the names of those persons whose goods you are importing and let us know who these people are before the vessel or plane arrives.”

He also mentioned the East West Grand Bahama Development Encouragement Regulation. “The Government has removed or reduced the tariff on over 200 items, and legislation was introduced on initiatives to allow business in the Eastern and Western part of Grand Bahama to access duty free concession on the importation of capital and other goods for the operation of their business,” he said.

He added: “All that is required is they would have to register as a licensee with the Ministry of Grand Bahama under the East West Grand Bahama Development Economic Regulations.”

The Family Island Development Encouragement Act, which has been extended through the end of June 2017, allows persons building a home or business to

import goods duty free under the agreement. However, this agreement only applies to certain islands, Grand Bahama included.

The Customs Management Act, and regulations 2011 and 2013 respectively, was enforced in January 2014 and aims to provide general rules to the Administration of the Customs Business in the Customs Territory of The Bahamas. “We who are citizens of this great country have a duty to protect it in every way. We must ensure that others do not abuse it by illegal means and we must nurture and respect its laws,” Martin said.

The Bahamas Customs Department is a member of the World Customs Organization (WCO), which comprises 176 countries; and it collects approximately 50 per cent of the country’s revenue which equates to over $800,000.00 annually.

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