Govt Admits To 50% Customs Leakages
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
(July 18, 2018) NASSAU, Bahamas - The government has admitted to losing around 50 percent of due Customs revenues from inefficiencies in a system it is working feverishly to reform by eliminating manual processes.
The confession is contained in the government's own just-published review of The Bahamas' progress in meeting the United Nations' (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, with the report's release timed to coincide with Dr Hubert Minnis's visit to the New York-based body today.
The review, which has been obtained by Tribune Business, confirmed that half of due revenues collected through Customs were being lost due to system leakages, loopholes and fraud prior to efforts to modernise the system by introducing the Electronic Single Window (ESW) - a project said to be in the final stages of completion.
"The existing system was considered ineffective, due to over-reliance on manual procedures and outdated information systems," the government's report concedes. "These deficiencies were estimated to be costing the system around 50% percent of the revenues that a more efficient tax administration system would be able to collect."
Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance's (ORG) principal, yesterday told Tribune Business that the government's estimate was in line with those produced by the private sector when he headed the Chamber of Commerce's Coalition for Responsible Taxation (CRT).