REPORT ON THE CUSTOMS AND EXCISE(AMENDMENT) BILL, 2018
THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON THE ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT CLUSTER
National Assembly Phone: +266 22323035 P. O. Box 190 Fax: + 266 22310434
On Friday 1st March, 2019, the Hon. Minister of Finance tabled the Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the House. The Bill was referred to the Portfolio Committee on the Economic and Development Cluster for consideration in terms of Standing Order No. 51 (5). The Committee invited the Ministry of Finance to a briefing session in accordance with Standing Order No. 54 (2).
The Committee, therefore, presents this Report to the House for consideration.
2.0 MINISTERIAL BRIEF
The Ministry of Finance supported by Lesotho Revenue Authority presented a brief to the Committee on 29th October, 2019. It was indicated that the aim of the Bill is to amend the Customs and Excise Act No. 10 of 1982 as amended in order to adapt to the best international practices in terms of adopting new and modern customs techniques.
The purpose of the Bill is to comply with international instruments such as the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) .The Bill gives the Commissioner General power in determining the origin of goods, in accordance with rules of origin provided for under these agreements. The Bill grants the Commissioner General power to enter into agreements with other customs administrations in order, amongst others, to provide for co-operation including exchange of customs information and facilitation of customs processes.
The Bill further provides for new and modern customs initiatives as a result of international instruments, for example, automation at border post, accreditation of complaint taxpayers, and imposition of penalties by the Commissioner General. It is a scheme meant to promote compliance by reducing inspection costs to trade and minimising delays associated with import and inspection and other processes. It provides for a process of issuance of a certificate from registration of applicants for
those who qualify up to a stage where the Commissioner General may suspend or cancel the certificate in case of non-compliance or abuse of the system.
The Bill also introduces administrative penalty concept, where the Commissioner General shall impose penalties to traders that have committed minor offences that are not necessarily provided for in the Bill as offences.
The Bill further gives the Commissioner General power to establish a computer system for processing of declarations at ports of entry. The system shall be used by registered users only.
3.0 CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL CLAUSE BY CLAUSE
The Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was adopted with the following amendments:
- In Clause 2 after sub-clause 40.B (9), add the following sub-clauses:
“(10) A person who is issued with a user access code shall only use the access code issued to him and not allow any other person to use the code unless the person is in his employment or he has obtained the Commissioner General’s authority
(11) A person who contravenes subsection (10) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Maloti or imprisonment for a period of five years or both”
- In sub- clause 66.E after (3), add the following new sub-clauses (4) and (5) as follows:
‘’ (4) A person who is issued with the accreditation certificate shall return the certificate to the Commissioner General where it is withdrawn.
(5) A person who contravenes subsection (4) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Maloti or imprisonment for a period of five years or both”.
After thorough scrutiny of the Bill, the Committee recommends that the House adopt the Bill as amended (Annex 2)
The Committee wishes to submit this report to the House for adoption.
Members of the Committee 1. Hon. S. T. Rapapa (chairperson) 2. Hon. L. R. Mahase 3. Hon. S.D .Mangobe 4. Hon. T. J. Sophonea 5. Hon. M. J. Maime 6. Hon. T. L.Kibane 7. Hon. M. P. Maqelepo 8. Hon. L. C. Hlomelang 9. Hon. L. K. Mokoma 10. Hon. M. Malefane 11. Hon. M. C. Hlao 12. Hon. T. Tsita- Mosena 13. Hon. M. R. Khati 14. Hon. M. Hlalele 15. Hon. P. D. Mafereka 16. Hon. T. P. Mokeretla 17. Hon. N. Motsamai 18. Hon. T. L. Mokhosi 19. Hon. M. Tlali