Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister says even though the customs department started 24 seven operations last month, the service has not been used to the maximum by the importers and exporters, which is like dreaming of Singapour and living in Ethiopia.
"We have brought Singapore access through the Customs extending their services on a round the clock basis. You (freight forwarders) ask for it but you are not maximizing on this,” Ravi Karunanayake, Finance Minister of Sri Lanka said Thursday at a press conference held in Colombo organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
“If we are dreaming of Singapore and living in Ethiopia there is no point.”
Customs stared 24 hours operation on all seven days of the week from 01 February on wards.
However, officials of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority say that there is room for more improvement and activity during the week-ends.
“The Full Container Load (FCL) clearing has to improve especially in the week-ends,” Datta Gunasekera, director – technical of Sri Lanka Ports Authority said.
The Minister says if this system is used in an effective manner then it can also help ease the traffic condition in the area by reducing the congestion.
“Traffic congestion is bad let’s make use of this and do it in the week-ends,”
“We have to get at least 40 per cent cleared from Monday toFriday, this will ease the load and the traffic situation.”
Meanwhile director general of the Sri Lanka Customs says that there is also a danger of more fraudulent activities but he says they are ready to tackle this situation.
“This means that fraud will also double as people will have a longer time to do it,”
“But we are ready with the enforcement units to tackle the situation.”
The Minister also said that no one should be able to take advantage of this situation and use it in a fraudulent manner.
“We don’t want anyone to take advantage of this and if it happens the company will be black listed and never be able to use the system again.”