May 30, 2018

More revenue generated by customs sector

By:  Vientiane Times, May 21, 2018

VIENTIANE - Revenue amassed in the four central provinces has exceeded the government’s target after authorities imposed stronger measures earlier this year to crack down on illegal trade with neighbouring countries. 

The four provinces (Vientiane and the provinces of Vientiane, Borikhamxay and Xaysomboun) are managed by the Regional Customs V office, comprising four international border crossings, three local and five customs border crossings.

Chief of the Regional Customs V office, Mr Somphet Sivongxay, told the media last week that authorities are endeavouring to boost income while fighting to address financial leaks.

Revenues are up on last year and from January 1 to May 9 some 1.32 trillion kip in tariffs and fees were collected at border crossings in the four provinces, equal to 33.37 percent of the plan for this year.

Borikhamxay provincial authorities have been lauded for their excellent job in collecting the income as designated by the Ministry of Finance.

Likewise, authorities at the Pakxan International Border Crossing gathered 79 billion kip in revenue over the first quarter of this year, an increase of 31 percent and equal to 39 percent of the target for 2018.

Efforts to tighten up on revenue collection got into gear after the Governor of Borikhamxay province, Dr Kongkeo Xaysongkham, issued an order to all provincial departments and districts earlier this year to crack down on unlawful activities related to vehicles, cross-border trade, drug trafficking and illegal migration.

The governor was particularly concerned about illegal trade since Borikhamxay shares a long border with Thailand, which makes it difficult to monitor cross-border trade.

Provincial authorities formed a team to deal with issues related to illicit trade and the import of banned vehicles.

In Vientiane, revenue collected in this period reached only 24.1 percent of the target for 2018 and was mainly sourced from various fees on imported vehicles, fuel, construction equipment and other goods.

Mr Somphet said officials had been delegated to various locations to combat tariff and fee payment evasion at border crossings. Authorities also held meetings with entrepreneurs, notably those importing vehicles, fuel, electrical equipment, construction apparatus and other goods. 

In addition, tax and customs officials have been warned that they must strictly pursue the so-called 10-prohibition rule issued last year to prevent any misconduct.

This year, the Regional Customs V office plans to gather revenue amounting to 3.96 trillion kip, equal to 55 percent of the customs sector collection for the whole nation.

As part of efforts to boost revenue collection, authorities plan to introduce an electronic system at more border crossings to ease import and export procedures and ensure increased transparency in tax collection.

Through a cashless system, greater amounts of tax revenue would be collected and risks related to financial leaks minimised, according to the Customs Department.

An electronic system would make revenue collection more transparent and save businesses time.

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