Within the framework of the government’s approach to re-pricing its services, and in order to increase public revenues, the General Administration of Customs with Ernst & Young has prepared a study to re-price its services, which includes reviewing the fees of 65 certificates and forms.

According to a local Arabic daily, the study which looks at customs services as the first source of income for the state in terms of non-oil revenues, it is proposed to increase the fees for some services by 100 percent, while others jumped 10 times. At the same time, the study recommended approving a fee ranging between 10 and 20 dinars for services currently provided free.

The presented study proposes raising the fee for 56 certificates and forms provided by the “customs” by 100 percent, specifically from half a dinar to one dinar, the most prominent of which are the career progression certificate and end-of-service reward, a statement of employment status and a form for residency cancellation and renewal, in addition to a salary breakdown certificate and passport data and a certificate of continuity of salary transfer.

The study also suggests raising the fee for a work permit with others from one to two dinars, and raising the fee for a request to replace a damaged or lost work ID from 500 fils to 5 dinars, raising the fee for a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ certificate from 1 to 3 dinars, while it was recommended to raise the fee for a power of attorney service. A car for several trips (land customs) ranges from 1.5 to 10 dinars and service of hiring a car for one trip, it is proposed to raise its fee from 1 to 5 dinars.

Regarding the list of services that are provided free of charge it is proposed to impose fees on them, they include the issuance of a letter to the Ministry of the Interior for the criminal case. It was recommended to set a 5 dinars fee, as well as issuing a letter to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (issuing-renewing-change of address) the commercial license 10 dinars; it is the same fee proposed for the service of issuing a letter to the Public Authority for Manpower (change of title, renewal of residence permit, transfer of residence permit).

The “Customs” movement in this direction comes within a broader government move that began with Cabinet Resolution No. 956 of 2021 regarding the depletion of liquidity in the general reserve, as all government agencies were mandated to take the necessary measures to find radical solutions to confront the deficit in the state’s general budget.

In terms of reducing spending from the 2021/2022 budget by no less than 10 percent, the “customs” stated its commitment and keenness to legalize and define aspects of spending in order to rationalize spending and control expenses without prejudice to the work entrusted to the administration.

The sources pointed out that the necessary measures have been taken towards collecting the government debts owed, whether accounting by proving them with regular restrictions, and procedurally with regard to companies by filing lawsuits in the Kuwaiti courts. As for the debts of individuals, they are followed up, and they are between proof and collection.

The sources noted that there is no financial appropriation in the local and foreign exhibitions and conferences item in the department’s budget, while the local training item has been reduced, and only 15,000 dinars has been approved. As for external training, it is an amount allocated for inspector courses in the United States, as it is subject to the Kuwaiti-American memorandum of understanding.

As for the item of official missions, “Customs” indicated that it was reduced by the Ministry of Finance by 50 percent from the draft budget for 2021/2022, where 100 thousand dinars were requested and 50 thousand were approved, indicating that there is no financial appropriation for research, studies and consultations during the current year.

The study prepared by Ernst & Young for the General Administration of Customs, includes a detailed proposal for a developed mechanism that would raise customs performance and develop revenue collection to a higher level.

In a meeting with management officials, the company presented its perception of “customs” as one of the non-oil revenue authorities in the country, concerned with addressing problems and obstacles that would affect the collection of customs revenues and taxes, as stipulated in customs laws and instructions, without affecting the customs workflow. Or impeding the conduct of trade or breaching the security role of customs.

The Ernst & Young study stressed the need to identify the causes of imbalance that negatively affect the increase in customs revenues, by looking at the database, analyzing it and verifying its validity, as well as looking at the organizational structure of the administration, which describes the customs work centers and departments concerned with collection and the mechanism used. And identifying cases that may cause loss or leakage of revenues and non-collecting them.

The study pointed to at least 3 main challenges that the customs authorities must address in order to comply with their duties with regard to imports, which are:

— Trade Facilitation: ensuring that the trade facilitation process runs smoothly and efficiently, while reducing import clearance times and managing risks at the same time.

— Security: dealing with issues related to smuggling (such as illegal materials such as drugs or weapons) and the import of counterfeit goods that may affect state security.

— Revenues: ensure that customs receive the legitimate value of import duties and taxes in full for all commodities and merchandise imported into the country.

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