Major Developments – 2011
Administration of Departure Tax
The collection of departure tax by FRCS became effective from 15 January, 2011. This was following the announcement by the Government in the 2011 National Budget to shift the administration of departure tax to FRCS. Consultations and awareness were undertaken with internal and external stakeholders that were involved in the actual processing for the collection of this tax.
Time Release Study
FRCS obtained Cabinet’s approval for a Time Release Study (TRS) to be conducted, which is to analyze the average time taken between the arrival of the goods and their release from Customs. This study is a systematic way to measure the time taken for release of cargo and is a diagnostic tool to provide concrete baseline data for identifying bottlenecks in the clearance process and logistics.
PSC Service Excellence Awards
FRCS is participating in the Service Excellence Awards for the first time. The Service Excellence Awards Framework is endorsed by Government as a system and customer approach towards improving organizational systems, processes and services with enhanced productivity and efficiency of the Public Service as the expected outcome.
The Service Excellence Awards framework is based on the Fiji Business Excellence Awards administered by the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) and focuses on the performance of the agency by examining a number of crucial facets of its Management. It will also be used by evaluators to assess the extent of improvements in light of the current reforms undertaken in Ministries and Departments. FRCS is applying at the Fiji Public Service Excellence, level which is one of the seven categories at the awards.
The preparatory stages have been completed with the final submission made to the Awards Secretariat at the Public Service Commission (PSC). This will now be followed by evaluation results and recommendations which will ultimately help identify areas of improvement within the organization.
Administration of Stamp Duty
The Government, through the 2011 National Budget Address, announced that FRCS will take over the administration of Stamp Duty in 2011. The function of the Stamp Duty office was transferred to FRCS effective from 1 April, 2011.
Capital Gains Tax
The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) came into effect on 1 May, 2011 and is imposed by the Capital Gains Tax Decree. It applies to capital gains arising from the disposal of capital assets on or after 1 May, 2011. There were a number of seminars conducted to educate taxpayers about the new tax.
The Capital Gains Tax Decree was prepared by the in-house Legislative Drafting team, and finalized by Professor Lee Burns of the University of Sydney, using a model that is unique to Fiji, and administratively easy to work with, similar to Tonga and Gambia. Professor Lee Burns was funded by the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre. Consultations on the Capital Gains Tax were done with staff as well as external stakeholders.
Government Investment Seminars
FRCS attended a series of investment seminars organized by the Investment Fiji (previously known as the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau (FTIB) and the Fiji Consulate General Office in Sydney. A total of 5 seminars were held over the three week period in May 2011 that saw local and foreign investors being informed of various reforms brought by the Fijian Government to grow the economy. The discussion on various Tax incentives and Customs concessions was the central feature of the investment seminars.
WCO E-Learning National Roll-Out
One of the key strategic priorities for the Authority in 2011 is the development of our human capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of the business and our stakeholders. In line with this priority, FRCS is pursuing the national roll-out of the World Customs Organization (WCO) E-learning programme.
At the 13th Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) Annual Conference in Port Moresby, PNG in May 2011, the WCO Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya and FRCS CEO signed a License Agreement for the use of the WCO E-learning modules. The license provides for the local hosting of the WCO E-Learning modules on FRCS network.
The installation would allow FRCS quicker and limitless access to the WCO’s reference expertise. Furthermore, we will have at our disposal a complete tool tailored to distance training which we anticipate will strengthen our training policy on a long-term basis. The underlying factor in this initiative is to support the enhancement and up skilling of our workforce.
ASYCUDA System Revamped
FRCS launched the first phase of full automated manifest process in Nadi.
The electronic manifest has greatly improved in facilitation of trade in terms of faster clearance of imported cargo. FRCS has and will be conducting both internal and external awareness on the new procedures during each phases of implementation.
The automation will reduce the processing time of facilitation of trade.
FRCS will be conducting awareness to both internal and external stakeholders on the new procedures during each phase of implementation.
The ASYCUDA system was first adopted by the Authority in 1999. It was used to process Single Administrative Document (SAD). Electronic manifest was introduced in 2002 using the ASYCUDA system in parallel with manual manifest control.