International Customs Day is observed globally on January 26 and recognizes the vital role customs agencies and employees play in maintaining border security. The day was held under the theme “SMART Borders for Seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”
Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Senior Minister, the Honourable Vance Amory, said that the Government of National Unity commends the Customs and Excise employees who have played a role in ensuring that St. Kitts and Nevis is ranked consistently as a leader in terms of its Customs-related activities by prestigious international organizations, such as the World Bank Group.
“The World Bank’s Doing Business Report (the rankings are benchmarked to May 2018) ranks St. Kitts and Nevis, out of all the countries in the English speaking Caribbean, as the best facilitator of processing goods and cross border trade,” he said.
St. Kitts and Nevis ranks 68 in the world and one point below Puerto Rico which is the highest ranking country in the Caribbean, said the senior minister.
He added that in terms of processing cross border trade, St. Kitts and Nevis also ranks a mere four points below Israel and just eight points below New Zealand, which are two OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) high-income countries.
“This is a significant achievement that is often overlooked in an examination of our overall ranking. We as a nation and especially our customs officers can feel a sense of accomplishment, but we must continue to improve our performance overtime,” he said. “Our performance as a country emanates from the government’s support of continuous investment and training in information technologies such as the implementation of the ASYCUDA World customs Processing System, which is an automated system for customs data.”
Senior Minister Amory stated that the global ranking of the nation’s customs related activities keeps improving because shorter processing times and more seamless trade have resulted from the use of the ASYCUDA system and other technologies.
“Good things are indeed happening as our Team Unity continues to equip and empower the Customs and Excise Department and other key agencies in the civil service with secure, measurable, automated, risk management and technology driven tools to ensure that we perform at the highest level of efficiency in all areas of our economic and social activities,” said the Honourable Vance Amory.