The Bureau of Customs announced it is currently conducting verification, inspection and investigation of registered brokers, importers and warehouses throughout the country to weed out individuals the BOC alleges are using their accreditation for illegal activities.
Customs Assistant Commissioner and Spokesman Vincent Philip Maronilla told the BusinessMirror the BOC is aiming to clean their list for “possible fly-by-night importers” and those who only intend to comply with regulations during the accreditation process but shortly after will have serious compliance issues.
In a statement on Thursday, the BOC said its Enforcement Security Service and Customs Intelligence Investigation Service personnel were tasked to physically visit and verify registered offices and warehouses. They also coordinated with local barangay units to ascertain the legitimacy of accredited stakeholders.
Of the 3,175 consignees or importers listed by the BOC Account Management Office, 1,829 were so far inspected. The BoC said its team found 212 with misrepresented information.
Those who did not meet the BOC requirement or were verified to have misrepresented information face sanctions that may include the revocation of their accreditation with the BOC, the bureau’s statement said.
Sought to clarify whether those found to have misrepresented information were considered as fly-by-night importers, Maronilla said: “Not necessarily.”
“They may be legitimate importers but they need to comply with our requirements like proper maintenance of offices,” he added.
Maronilla said the BOC hopes this move will provide the bureau “a better idea” on the number of possible fly-by-night importers. He added, however, there are only a few compared to those who haven’t complied with the bureau’s requirements, including signages or proper declaration of transfer of office.
He also stressed the importance of verification and inspection of registered brokers, importers and warehouses to ensure the plugging of revenue leakages.
Asked how much could be the revenue leakages due to the existence of fly-by-night importers, Maronilla said he couldn’t provide “exact figures.”
“It depends on the existence [of] fly-by-night importers [whether or not they are] rampant,” he said. “But so far we have been able to prevent this through these kinds of programs.”
Image credits: Klodien | Dreamstime.com