Authorities highlight border security issues from e-commerce

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority Chief Executive Officer Visvanath Das speak with Fane Vave during the World CustomsOrganization Asia/pacific 2018 Private Sector Engagement Conference in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

E-COMMERCE and the increase in online purchasing by Fijians is one of the biggest challenges facing border security in the country, says the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF).Speaking at the World Customs Organization Asia/Pacifi c 2018 Private Sector Engagement Conference in Nadi yesterday, BAF acting CEO Hillary Kumwenda said online buying was diffi cult to monitor.

“We are a dynamic organisation so we are trying to move with time. The global economy is changing, trade and economic landscape and the way business is done is changing
— we also have to change,” he said.

“We are now relying on systems that help us still maintain border security by the use of high-tech x-ray machines.

“E-commerce is here to stay, we cannot deny that. It is another platform where business is taking place and we have put in place certain systems.

“For example, if something arrives through courier companies or the post office, we have actually increased our presence to make sure that we are able to provide our quarantine services.”

FRCS CEO Visvanath Das said e-commerce was gaining momentum and the country’s monitoring mechanisms were being structured to cope with the technological leap.

“We have our policy research team which looks into these matters and we keep very close tabs with online developments,” he said.

“We have guidance in terms of the World Customs Organization because at that level we have an e-commerce working group which looks into issues such as this.

“We also learn from other jurisdictions, in recent times we have seen how Australia is gearing up for e-commerce, online buying and all the taxes that leaks through the system because of online buying.”

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