THE sudden increase in cargo and passenger traffic in the Western Division has prompted the Lautoka Customs Intelligence Unit to launch hotline bumper stickers to alert citizens that they can report suspicious tax and Customs related matters.
Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority chief executive officer Jitoko Tikolevu said they were partnering with stakeholders to effectively carry out their roles in revenue collection and border management.
He said FRCA was reaching out to stakeholders because of challenges posed by the geographical boundaries of the Western Division.
"FRCA alone, through its Customs Division, cannot maintain the security of its borders. That is why we have taken an integrated approach with our stakeholders. The main hinderance to FRCA's work towards securing our borders is the geographical setup of the country — 333 scattered islands, limited resources of the country and coverage area for FRCA West is from Sigatoka to Rakiraki," he said
Mr Tikolevu said the confidential hotline provided a way for citizens including government workers to report suspected tax and customs matters.
"An effective confidential hotline is a necessary component of a successful compliance regime and effective integrated border management.
It allows FRCA to collect, manage and disseminate relevant information into areas that pose a threat or risk for the organisation and our core objectives. The Lautoka CIU Hotline will capture reports, information and issues regarding tax and Customs matters and disseminate accordingly to the Customs and tax divisions of FRCA," Mr Tikolevu said.
He also revealed there was an increase in the volume of cargo and visitors entering the country.
He said in 2011 total imports for the ports at Nadi and Lautoka amounted to 83million kilograms. This figure increased to 4.6 billion kilograms this year.
In addition, Mr Tikolevu said the number of visitor arrivals for 2011 ranged from 36,000 to 69,000 on a monthly basis, which proved that the amount of cargo and passengers passing through Fiji's borders was increasing.
The hotline — 6626777 — is a 24-hour service.