Following reports that certain traders have been exporting sugar and replacing it with import volumes far larger than what they had been shipping overseas, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement on Monday that its chief has asked the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to be on the lookout for probable sugar smuggling.
“The sugar price domestically is much higher than the world market price. So there is going to be an incentive for people to smuggle in sugar,” Finance Secretary Dominguez 3rd was quoted as saying.
Dominguez also told Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero that he had received reports from officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Cebu province about a company that was authorized to export sugar but had been shrewdly replacing its overseas shipments with volumes that were far higher than what it had exported, according to the DoF.
“Please keep an eye on those gaps,” he told Guerrero.
In the case of the BIR, the Finance department said Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa mentioned that he has been working with the Sugar Regulatory Administration for a long time to guarantee that traders get prior approval from the Bureau before importing sugar.
The DoF said the Customs bureau reported the Customs bureau has seized P7.22 billion in suspected smuggled goods from January 1 to June 14 this year. The majority of which are counterfeit items worth P4.33 billion, cigarettes and other tobacco products worth P1.13 billion, general merchandise worth P863.23 million, and illegal drugs worth P373.16 million.
Agricultural products, vehicles and accessories, used clothing, electronics, guns, alcoholic beverages, wildlife, medical supplies, jewels, chemicals, cash, and fuel were among the other items confiscated.
BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA