The Government will remove the “Green Lane List” after cargo x-ray scanners are installed at the main wharf and Samoa’s two airports.
This undertaking was given by the Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, during an interview with the Samoa Observer, as the cargo express service continues to come under criticism.
The “Green Lane List” comprises selected companies, who enter into a prepaid service arrangement with Customs, to get their containers immediately upon their arrival in the country.
The Minister said the practice is the result of the Ministry’s mutual working relationship with the private sector and had been in place before he was appointed to the cabinet position.
The whole project will cost $10 million according to Tialavea, which will see the setting up of x-ray scanners at the wharf, the post office and the Faleolo and Fagali’i airports.
He said the proposal has been in the works for more than a year and that cargo, containers and parcels would be required by law to be scanned.
Parliament has approved a budget of $13.2 million for the Ministry of Revenue for the Financial Year 2018-2019, out of which $900,000 has been appropriated to construct a building at the Apia Port to house a new container scanning machine to ensure strict compliance.
Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, has been a big critic of the Green Lane List.
He has described the customs prepaid service between the Ministry of Revenue and selected companies in Samoa as “a gamble” appealed for its abolishment.
Speaking to this newspaper in September last year, Olo said the system was based on “trust” but there is no guarantee that all businesses are trustworthy.
“Who knows what other stuff is being smuggled into our country that has not been intercepted by the Customs Officers because of their system? I understand that this process is allowed based on trust but this does not guarantee all the businesses are trustworthy,” he said.