SRC and department of trade ‘Courier operators should deliver door-to-door despite customs fees’ | 09 January 2020
Courier operators should comply with their terms of service and deliver customers’ goods on a door-to-door basis, despite the R100 customs fee applicable to each consignment of goods imported through the post or courier (other than packages of documentation).
Principal secretary for trade Cillia Mangroo stated such in a press conference held at the trade division yesterday afternoon, to address the numerous complaints received by members of the public regarding the quality of service from courier operators, since the implementation of the regulation on January 1, 2020.
Over the past few days, many people have taken to social media platforms to express their disappointment and dissatisfaction at the service offered by courier operators, many of whom have instructed customers to travel to the Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue to clear the R100 customs fee and pick up small packages even after having paid a premium for door-to-door delivery, while others on La Digue have complained that they are having to pick up their packages from Praslin.
“Couriers have been informed that we do not want clients to have to collect their goods at the airport, as it is not fair considering that they have already paid a premium to have door-to-door delivery. Couriers are not clearing agents who based on documentation given by the clients sort out all the processing and they charge the client the customs fees,” said Ms Mangroo.
“To ease the process, clients are supposed to pay the customs fee to the courier, once their parcel is delivered because the courier can from their pre-payment account issue the payments to Customs, and then recover the sum from their clients,” Ms Mangroo explained, noting that both the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) and the department of trade, had advised courier operators prior to the implementation of the regulation.
According to Ms Mangroo, courier operators can through a pre-payment account with the SRC make the necessary arrangements to pay upfront the customs fees and any other duty fees on behalf of their clients, and then recover such fees from their clients upon delivery of their packages and parcels. A client is therefore not able to access their package until payment is issued to the courier.
“There is currently some confusion at the airport because the couriers are refusing to pay the customs fee on behalf of their clients for them to be refunded later. Clients should not have to go to the airport even if the value of their item exceeds R3,000, where duty fees apply,” added Ms Mangroo.
In a bid to rectify the issue and get all courier operators on board with the regulations, the SRC and trade department are in the process of contacting the courier’s respective headquarters, issuing letters to them as it goes against their policy and terms of service to not deliver goods to the clients’ stated address.
While most complaints have been over the service offered by couriers, other members of the public have voiced out over the processing fee, which previously stood at R25 per consignment (at the post office).
“There has always been a customs processing fee and we saw the necessity to introduce a processing fee for small packages based on the large volumes of packages coming into the country. Just through the postal service, there are 35,000 small packages that enter the country and system, not inclusive of parcels on a monthly basis, and through couriers, on average it is about 7,500 per month. The amount of work and manpower needed to process the small packages is a lot which is why the government introduced the customs fee of R100,” explained PS Mangroo.
Ms Mangroo continued to explain that the fee applies to each consignment regardless of the value of the contents, and the funds collected are put into the consolidated fund and it can then be allocated to SRC, an entity currently undergoing a modernisation phase requiring the acquisition of new equipment and significant capital investment.
“It is important to remember that there is an ongoing process to modernise customs. We are going paperless soon as a means of ensuring that clients do not have to print their bills of entry when they go to clear their goods. The plan is also to acquire a scanner to facilitate the screening and scanning of goods in containers and all this requires resources to acquire the necessary equipment,” PS Mangroo stated.
In terms of the backlog of packages at the post office, acting commissioner of the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) François Ally notes that efforts are being made to clear the backlog as soon as possible and that employees of the SRC worked through the public holidays to sort out the imported goods and documentations.