SAJ president urges Jamaica Customs to continue streamlining efforts
The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) joined the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) in the observance of International Customs Day at the inaugural launch of the Customs Traders and Importers Forum. The event took place on January 26 at the agency's Newport East head office. The theme for this year was 'A Secure Business Environment for Economic Development'. President of the SAJ, Denise Lyn Fatt, was in attendance and conveyed remarks on behalf of the association.
She said it was the SAJ's hope that the theme would serve as an impetus to the agency "to seek new ways of facilitating a business environment that will drive trade and inspire the JCA to formulate new systems and policies that will serve Jamaica's overall business community better".
She added that the members of the SAJ acknowledge and appreciate the efforts that Jamaica Customs has made in improving many of their processes as well as in engaging stakeholders.
"We are aware", she said, "that the way to advance the country in its developmental goals is for the different departments and agencies of government to participate and engage in continuous progression of their operations. By streamlining procedures, curtailing corruption, boosting integrity, and facilitating the movement of cargo, Customs is creating more stability within the business environment, thus making it more sustainable. From this streamlining process we are expecting greater transparency, fairness and sustainability."
Lyn Fatt added that the association remains supportive of the agency as they work towards the development of a modern customs administration.
"The SAJ remains committed to working with and supporting the Jamaica Customs Agency in all its efforts to improve its business process, bolster its electronic environment, to reform its legal framework, and pursue initiatives that will lead to the development of a modern customs administration. As usual, we will continue to respond to the call for engagement and stakeholder participation and remain hopeful that these interactions will bridge the divide between the requirements of government and the needs of businesses.''
Launching the Traders and Importers Forum was Finance and Public Service Minister Audley Shaw. The forum is expected to bring awareness of the different procedures and processes of the supply chain to stakeholders from across the industry - those involved in export, import, logistics, warehouse and haulage.
JCA Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker said the forum is another one of the agency's initiatives aimed at engaging its clients and stakeholders on the agency's impact on the sector, as well as on how they can deliver their services better.
"The JCA continues to place emphasis on its trade facilitation mandate with the aim of further building our capacity and improving our regional and global competitiveness as a customs administration. The role we play in this area is very critical to national development and, indeed, we take it seriously.''