Changes to Customs Act, A-G says

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum makes a point in Parliament. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

In a bid to address issues customers face with freight agents and cargo forwarders, there have been amendments made to the Customs Act, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

While outlining what the proposed changes would do, the A-G said a lot of people were becoming ad hoc agents and there was a need to license them “to have some clarity around those who can provide that particular service”.

“We have people for example who use the services of organisations and then those organisations sort of disappear overnight and their goods get lost, et cetera, so this is to instil confidence in the business transactions,” the A-G said.

He said there was a transitional provision in relation to the licensing of freight forwarders whereby any person who, prior to August 1, 2022, engaged in the business of forwarding cargo on board an aircraft or ship, without a licence must obtain a licence on or before August 31, 2022.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he also wanted the CEO or the Comptroller of Customs to be able to publish and publicly make available all licenced freight forwarders.

He said the Act also provided for the review of the comptroller’s decision under any of the customs laws and the provision to empower the minister to prescribe penalties not exceeding a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment of 10 years or both.

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