TEPA has embarking on a project spearheaded by the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards to provide the Customs & Excise Department with a concise “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOP) manual, highlighting explicit instructions for the successful accomplishment of its specific goals in the Customs Strategic Business Plan 2013 – 2018. This will promote consistency, transparency, professionalism, public trust, moral authority and accountability.
Customs is responsible for collecting approximately 50% of government’s total revenue. It is therefore imperative that the Custom’s Department maintains the highest standards when interacting with its stakeholders. Consequently, it remains cognizant of the role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the execution of its daily operational activities.
The public and other stakeholder agencies demand the highest standards and accountability from Customs officers who have been entrusted with the responsibility of collecting this revenue, which is the primary role of the department. Hence, through enforcement, verification, examinations, intelligence and compliance, the Department has been consistent in making significant contribution to the annual national budget.
The Customs & Excise Department has for a number of years relied heavily on circulars, organizational directives and the “status quo” in relating processes and procedures to provide guidance for staff. The implementation of SOP within the Department will seek to obtain consistency, clarity, transparency, uniformity and standardization in the execution of various tasks for the entire department. The document will also ensure that approved procedures are followed in compliance with the department’s direction and legal provisions.
With the increase in international trade and trade negotiations the emphasis countries and companies must on their trading arrangements, cannot be overstated. The Customs department is keen on this consultancy and looks forward to successful implementation of the SOPs.