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Seaport still primary revenue source for customs

A vast majority of customs revenue collections between occur at the seaport, with Customs Comptroller Glenn Gomez describing the balance between that port of entry and the airport as”80-20.”

Gomez told Guardian Business that while the airport will pick up its collections during this time of the year, the primary revenue generator is still the seaport.”Even though the airport is high profile it’s really the seaport is where we really make our money. The airport is really for travelers,”Gomez said. Although we make money there we don’t make our bulk there.”

Gomez said the distribution of revenue collections between the two ports have been this way for the past several years, and the combination of Bahamians who purchase goods for their personal use and entrepreneurs who buy items for business purposes. Gomez pointed out that the dollar figure differs between the airport and seaport, saying the average person clearing goods through the airport range from$1,000-$6,000, and those clearing via the seaport spend”thousands and hundreds of thousands.””Some people when they go away while they might buy items and place in their luggage, they also will also buy items that they ship on a vessel,”he said.

The customs comptroller added that he has seen rise in collections at the airport, attributing the rise to the department’s tightening up its measures over the past two months. It was implemented to eliminate the number of Bahamian travelers who try to bypass paying duties on their items by not completely filling out customs forms. Goods that go undeclared put a dent in customs revenue, and it has been a trend that they are trying to break.

“Last month we’ve been collecting more money at the airport compared to last year but while we may collect more based on travelers going away and spending more, they have to declare their goods now, which is a reason for increase,”he said.”But the bulk of revenue comes from the seaport because that’s where we get the heavy cargo which is much more valuable.”According to Gomez, customs revenue collections up to this point are”millions”above the figure last year, although he wasn’t able to specify the exact amount Up to August, it has increased by$7 million compared to the same period during the last fiscal year. The projected goal for 2010-2011 is set at$816 million, a huge increase from the$189 million goal set for the previous fiscal period.

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