THE Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) will now be able to non-intrusively inspect cargo imports and exports to detect cargo assessed as “high risk” at Honiara International port with a newly received mobile x-ray scanner recently.
The new technology will assist Customs to better implement their mandate to enforce border protection and undertake efficient and timely revenue collection on behalf of Solomon Islands Government whilst facilitating legitimate trade yet ensuring compliance with Customs law.
With the new mobile x-ray scanner, cargoes will be scanned and identified through Customs assessed intelligence by the Risk Management team.
The types of goods of interest to Customs include: those that breaches international supply chain security, detection of prohibited goods like weapons, munitions, illicit narcotics, and identification of undeclared and smuggled goods that evade revenue assessment, such as smuggled tobacco, and mis-declared goods (fine example is kwila logs being described as sawn timber) etc.
The time delay to trade in the release of their goods will be minimal, as the technology enables unobtrusive examination in a matter of minutes, as opposed to current manual examination measured in hours or sometimes days.
The results of the scan will enable officers to decide if the container should be diverted for further physical inspection from an initial interpretation of the x-ray color coded images or released.
In order to keep the cost of doing business to traders as low as possible, under International Customs and World Trade Organisation law, scanning process fees, if any, can only be passed on at the cost incurred in providing the service.
Customs Officers will commence training in the use of the equipment next week and the machine will then become operational.
Customs are also empowered to administer the World Customs Organisation (WCO) SAFE Framework on the movement of goods through the international security supply chain. They possess the legal mandate to enforce border protection, provide industry assistance and undertake revenue collection on behalf of the government.
International Customs law is necessarily strict and customs have the obligation to facilitate legitimate trade but will enforce compliance with Customs laws through the use of targeted intelligence and risk assessment.