Oil prices notexpected to hinder customs revenue
Customs revenue isn’t expected to take a dip as a result of higher international crude oil prices.
Comptroller of Customs Glenn Gomez toldGuardian Businessyesterday that the revenue from imports won’t be directly affected from surging oil prices, but hinted at other areas may experience some changes.
“The only impact it will have is if people would decide to maybe reduce the number of imports,”Gomez said.”I really don’t see that happening to any great extent. What would probably happen and we’ve already started to see that in terms of pricing is the cost of commodities have gone up, so I guess the way people deal with that will determine the volume that they bring in.”
His comments came after a spike in oil prices over the past several weeks, affecting a number of industries locally and internationally and creating a domino effect that has trickled down to consumers. Crude oil prices stood at$101.91 per barrel at the close of trading yesterday, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The price has been impacted by the conflict in Libya.
Bahamians import their goods through air and sea services, with mail boat and similar options being utilized the most. Gomez said despite the threat that high oil prices pose to revenue collections, the country still relies on bringing goods into the country.
“We’re an importing nation so we can’t get around that,”he said.”Goods have to come in or otherwise we will be in a problem. The car dealers are going to be impacted more than a lot of people, so we just have to see how that goes.”
The customs comptroller added that a meeting is scheduled with representatives from the automobile retail industry next week. Motor vehicle tax revenues totaled$16.7 million for the first six months of the fiscal year,$566,000 higher than forecasted numbers.
Revenue collections were$56.4 million off of the$397 million projected for the first half of the fiscal year. That figure grew by over$29 million compared to the corresponding period in 2009-2010, with$311.5 million being collected during that time.
Gomez said that revenue collections are still on track and the system is still being tweaked to prevent any cases of persons trying to avoid paying duties. He said the department is dealing with two cases of that nature, with duties possibly being in the range of millions of dollars.
“We’re doing quite well in terms of our revenue, he said.”We’re finding that there are rabbits in little holes that we’re still pulling out. We’d like to say that it is going away…there are so many creative people in this country and they are created unfortunately on the wrong side of the law. We’re working feverishly on it.”