The Bahamas Customs and Excise Department has launched a dedicated portal on its Click2Clear platform specifically for the collection of cruising permit fees, a Ministry of Finance statement released yesterday revealed, explaining that the tech upgrade is another way to stop revenue leakage.
The statement explained that the portal will “dramatically improve” processing times for boaters when they clear customs at ports of entry across The Bahamas.
Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson said the new portal is a milestone for customs, which has already modernized its import tax collection engine.
He said the portal will also will assist in mitigating lost revenues from small boats and yachts visiting The Bahamas.
“The new cruising module on the Click2Clear platform provides a seamless and cashless collection process for cruising permit fees, with online applications and payments by credit card,” said Thompson.
“This is all a part of our digital transformation agenda. It addresses a longstanding pain point for boaters who have been clamoring for a fully digital process. It also minimizes the opportunity for revenue leakage.”
According to the statement, the new portal will allow boaters to submit their declaration forms and their payment before they arrive at a port of entry.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Dionisio D’Aguilar said in the statement that the upgrade will enhance the boating experience and help to grow the boating traffic to the country.
The statement explained that customs is working with other government agencies to develop their own payment platforms, adding that private sector individuals are also set to deliver payment and licensing platforms for the capture of government revenue.
Comptroller of Customs Dr. Geannine Moss said her agency is working diligently to modernize these kinds of government processes.
“The Department of Customs is committed to embracing modern technology to fulfill its mandate in an efficient and innovative manner,” said Moss.
“We are pushing aggressively and have had tremendous success rolling out the Click2Clear platform. The cruising permit module is the latest advancement we are happy to bring to the market and there is more to come.”
The customs department is working along with the Association of Bahamas Marinas, the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association and the Ministry of Tourism on educating the public about the new boating platform.