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Close to K1 million in revenue is lost every month through under valuing of soft drinks alone.

PNG Customs Chief Commissioner Ray Paul said audits conducted by Customs discovered that this has been happening over the last five years and Customs has embarked on a compliance drive via an amnesty process to encourage voluntary disclosure to recoup lost revenue and compliance as well as to ensure soft drink importers declare their imports correctly in future.

The Chief Commissioner stated that the audits were conducted after Customs received numerous complaints from the industry and the general public in relation to the influx of alleged cheap, low quality soft drink imported into the country from the Asian region.

"For example a carton of soft drink may actually cost US$8 but some importers were producing another invoice at US$4 per carton for Customs declaration purposes, which means they pay less duty," the Chief Commissioner said. "We have a whole list of soft drink importers. We selected a handful of them and conducted Post Clearance Audit at their premises and found that dual invoices were actually generated and stored at their premises. The importers did in fact admit their wrong doing."

He said this was not fair on both local manufactures and other soft drink importers who have been declaring correctly.

"Customs has allowed for a three-month amnesty period as of last week to all soft drink importers to review their imports for the last five years and must voluntarily disclose to Customs all shipment of soft drink that were incorrectly declared," the Chief Commissioner stated. "At the end of this amnesty period, further audits will be conducted and those found to be non-compliant will be subjected to a reassessment of value and administrative penalties between 50%-200% of duty short paid will be applied."

"It is not Customs' intention to hinder business activities in PNG but to grow business," the Chief Commissioner added. "We want to ensure that all importers must comply with the laws of this country by declaring their imports correctly."

Importers who wish to voluntarily disclose undervalued imports can send an email to pngcs.amnesty@customs.gov.pgto set up a meeting.

Authorised by:
Ray Paul
Chief Commissioner of Customs