The Customs and Excise Division is reporting an increase in revenue collection of $35 million, compared to 2021 collection figures for the first 11 months of the year.
According to Raju Boddu, Comptroller of Customs in Antigua & Barbuda, in the first nine months of 2022, the division registered about 11.7 per cent growth over last year.
“Last year for the first 11 months, the total revenue was $33.1 million but at the end of November 2022, the total revenue now stands at $336 million – that means we have made about $35 million more,” he said.
The increase in the collection of customs and import duties has been driven primarily by external inflation of roughly three (3) to four (4) per cent cost of goods over the past two years.
For example, Boddu said the volume of oil products being imported into the country has only increased by 8 per cent locally while the value has jumped by 55 per cent.
“It was $217 million in 2021 for the first 11 months, now, it is almost $419 million,” he explained.
“In a few months, we went into negative. We were not collecting anything,” he said, telling Island Press Box that in mid-2021, the price of oil products had increased to where Customs could not collect consumption tax.
In 2019, Mr. Boddu said all oil products imported by the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) including jet fuel, gasoline and LPG, brought in revenue of close to $115 million. That figure dropped to $112 million in 2021.
However, in the first month of 2022, he said the division collected $161 million in the first 10 months.
An increase in construction and the purchase of building materials as well as other economic activities have also contributed to the department’s growth in revenue. The importation of food items, meanwhile, remain the same.
“Overall, it has been a very satisfying year in terms of recovery when compared to 2019 when the company made $390 million and now, we are at $336.
“Given the target of $40 million to $45 million in this December, we might hit about $380 million. That means we are only $10 million away from 2019 figures,” he explained.
If the division continues on its current trajectory, Mr. Boddu expects that 2023, will be an “encouraging and rewarding year”.