New Contraloría report cites deficiencies in country’s customs agency

The latest government agency to be raked over the evaluation coals is the Dirección General de Aduanas, the customs agency.

A report released Monday by the Contraloría General de la República characterized much of the agency’s infrastructure as deficient as well as the speed with which imported goods pass through the agency.

The report noted that customs generates 28 percent of the government’s income.

The report covered 2011 to the end of September last year.

The evaluation said that some of the customs posts at the national borders were deficient and that a 2013 Interamerican Development Bank loan to upgrade them has not been fully expended.

These weaknesses affect the labors, limits commerce and increases the possibility of fiscal fraud, corruption and the trafficking of illegal merchandise, the report said.

Among other devices, the agency lacks scanners, security cameras, x-ray machines, adequate illumination and scales.

In addition, the storage areas are full, and there is the potential for health problems, said the report.  In some cases importers have to wait up to 120 hours to have their shipments processed through customs, said the report. During the entire period under study some 40 percent of the shipments were held for more than 48 hours, said the report.

Entrance to the border post at Sixaola.

Entrance to the border post at Sixaola.

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