The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has postponed the payment of customs broker licence fees for 2019-2020 as the Kingdom’s logistics sector reels from the sweeping effects of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic.
A letter signed by GDCE director-general Kun Nhem on August 13 and obtained by The Post on Monday noted that the decision was based on a request from the Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA).
“The [GDCE] would like to inform companies and individuals in the business of arranging for the customs clearance of goods that, given the status of the Covid-19 epidemic, the [ministry] has decided to waive payment of the annual customs broker licence fee.
“However, all agencies will be required to pay for the 2021 customs broker licence fee before the end of 2020,” the letter said.
Sin Chanthy, the president of CLA, which boasts a membership of 120 companies, told The Post on Monday that he submitted the proposal to the ministry on June 30.
He noted that licensed customs brokers must normally pay an annual licence fee of two million riel ($490).
“We are very happy and thankful to the [ministry], as well as the [GDCE], for deciding to waive the customs licence fee as we [the logistics sector] continue to face a shortfall [in revenue] prompted largely by Covid-19,” Chanthy said.
According to Chanthy, the Ministry of Commerce has issued nearly 500 customs broker licences.
The GDCE’s revenue collection plummeted 16.2 per cent to $1.272 billion in the first half of this year from $1.517 billion compared to the corresponding period last year.
According to Nhem, the global health crisis has precipitated a global demand and supply shock which has muted import-export activity in the Kingdom, leading to the lacklustre figures.
He said vehicle tax revenue sank 31.7 per cent and tax collected on construction materials shrunk 28.2 per cent. Meanwhile, tax revenue on petrol import gained 5.5 per cent and tax collected on other products climbed 3.1 per cent.
“By and large a key source of the department’s revenue collection, vehicle imports experienced a considerable downswing, more notably in the second quarter of 2020,” Nhem said.
He said the value of the Kingdom’s imports and exports dipped 9.4 and 7.5 per cent, respectively. Garments saw a 7.5 per cent slip in export value, but agricultural products saw a 14.5 per cent rise, with paddy, milled rice and natural rubber increasing the most.
Last year, Cambodia collected some $6 billion in revenue, up more than $1.485 billion from the government’s $4.56 billion target. Of that, the department took in $2.26 billion while the General Department of Taxation netted $2.3 billion.