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IDB grants Customs$200,000 for technical assistance

The Inter-American Development(IDB)recently made moves to strengthen the Customs Department, providing$200,000 in funding to provide technical assistance.

“It’s in an effort to modernize revenue operations in the country,”State Minister for Finance Zhivargo Laing confirmed toGuardian Businessyesterday.

According to an IDB statement released on Tuesday,”the program will assist the Customs Department of The Bahamas with the implementation of customs training modules[and]the restructuring of the training function within the department.”

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham earlier stated that the department was set to undergo major reform and modernization.

“[There will be]the introduction of a shift system at the Customs Department beginning on January 1, 2010,”Ingraham announced earlier in the House of Assembly.

The move was just one part of many changes to the Customs Department, with Ingraham also indicating two international experts have been hired to better incorporate information technology into the department. They will also guide and support the process of modernization within the department.

This latest assistance from the IDB comes asthe labor market in The Bahamas will be evaluated in the new year via a$170,000 study, via a joint government and IDB initiative to better understand the state of the labor market and give future guidance to the government on labor market issues and policies.

The project was confirmed toGuardian Businessby IDB country representative Oscar Spencer, with the grant agreement signed earlier in the month.

“It will begin in the first quarter of 2011,”he said on Tuesday.”The idea is there is an urgent need for this to be addressed, given growing demands on the economy for a trained and skilled workforce, and you want to ensure that the labor market is responsive to the needs of the sectors and employers.

“You need to look at the characteristics of the market, to identify areas where support is needed, to ensure that training is in place[and]to show that the labor force is equipped and compatible to what needs there are in the society.”

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