Introduction to Customs
- What we do?
- Who we are?
- Our Director
- Organisational Chart
- Our Organisational Structure
- Our Role
- Excise Section
The MRA Customs falls under the umbrella of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA). MRA falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the main function is to administrate the revenue laws. The mission of MRA Customs is mainly to collect revenue for the government, ensure national security and protect the society, while facilitating the legitimate movement of people and goods across the border.
Every effort is being done to carry out our functions effectively and efficiently with the optimum use of risk management, automation and post control audit for the:
- interception of smuggled and contraband goods such as illicit drugs;
- inspection of travellers and their baggage, cargo and mail;
- Use of Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology such as X-Ray scanners and K-9;
- assessment and collection of Customs duties, excise duties, VAT and other taxes levied under customs laws;
- protection of the society against IPR infringed goods;
- promotion of trade across border by providing trade facilitation measures for legitimate trade;
- enforcement of import and export restrictions and prohibitions;
- Collection of accurate import and export data.
For an effective and efficient border control, MRA Customs works in close collaboration with the other government agencies namely, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, the Government Pharmacist, the Veterinary Services, the Police, etc.
MRA Customs has a work force of 678 officers who are posted at various customs offices, that is, the headquarters, airport, port, Rodrigues outstation and other custom controlled area.
Mr. Vivekanand Ramburun is Director, Customs since 2016.
Customs has eleven sections. Each section has several interconnected operational units. A Section Head is responsible for the administration of each section. The main units and sub-sections falling under each section are listed below:
|1.||Air Cargo Operations||
|2.||Trade Facilitation, Customs Cooperation||
|4.||Customs Management System / Information Technology (CMS / IT)||
|7.||Surveillance & Enforcement||
|10.||Airport Passenger Terminal (SSR)||
Customs has three basic functions:
- Fiscal function – consists of collecting and protecting government revenue in the form of customs duty, excise duty, VAT and other taxes under Customs Laws.
- Protection / security function – ensures the security and protection of the country against transnational crimes and acts of terrorism. For instance, preventing prohibited goods, money laundering, illicit chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear goods from entering the country, reducing the ability of terrorist groups to obtain precursor chemicals to make improvised explosive devices and to acquire light arms and weapons.
- Economic function – provides trade facilitation measures for legitimate trade across the border in order to boost up import/ export and promote foreign direct investment. Reduce cost and dwell time, thereby ensuring fluidity and security to the business community in the Customs clearance.
During the last decade, there has been an evolution in the roles of Customs. In fact, the fiscal function which was considered to be the main mission of Customs has been coupled by other functions. Nowadays, the economic mission is considered to be an important function together with the security/protection function. These two functions when performed effectively results to an environment conducive to attracting trade and investment.
On the other hand, with the reduction and/or elimination of tariff barriers, the revenue collection in terms of Customs duty has subsided. Modern Customs is, nowadays, considered as an economic partner to stakeholders and needs to strike the right balance between trade facilitation and control.
To accomplish its functions effectively and efficiently, Customs resorts to the following control methods and techniques:
- Risk-Management and Intelligence
The use of advance electronic information on cargo and passengers and intelligence available to customs allows to enhance their profiling and targeting methods. This provides Customs the ability to focus on high-risk consignments and passengers.
- Enforcement of Customs Laws
Customs ensures compliance to customs laws through examination, query, post control audit and investigation with respect to all economic operators engaged in trade across the border. Some of the most common areas that are investigated by Customs are listed below:
Customs ensures border control to prevent drugs smuggling and drug-related offences. Its objective is to combat drug trafficking and physical cross border transportation of currency or bearer negotiable instruments or precious stones and metals including gold, diamond and jewellery or any goods of high value including work of arts of an amount of more than 500,000 rupees or such other amount as may be prescribed or its equivalent in any foreign currency through intelligence-led enforcement operations. Customs makes use of risk management, scanners and drug detector dogs to intercept contrabands. It also works in close collaboration with Mauritius Police (ADSU), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), NGOs and other intelligence and enforcement bodies specialized in combatting illegal drugs and money laundering to effectively fulfill its mission.
Customs investigates suspected cases where importers have deliberately evaded duty and/or VAT. This can be done both at clearance time of the cargo as well as after clearance through Post-Control Audit.
- Prohibited Goods
Customs also enforces prohibition and restriction of goods at import and export under other enactments in order to protect the society, and below are the main areas where such control is effected:
- Infringement of intellectual property rights – counterfeit, trademark and copyright goods
- publications and goods of obscene character - child pornography, bestiality, sexual violence, etc.
- firearms and offensive weapons
- other import and export restrictions and prohibitions under other national legislations.
- Wildlife Protection
Customs is also engaged in the protection of wildlife species through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (C.I.T.E.S). The signatories of this convention are committed to the detection and prevention of trade in endangered species. It is a joint initiative of Customs and the National Parks & Conservation Service. Customs has been assigned the responsibility for the prevention of illegal trade in fauna and flora involving import, export and transit.
The Excise Section is responsible for the protection and collection of excise duty, monitoring and control and delivery of locally manufactured excisable goods (including plastic carrier bags and plastic pet bottles as from July 2006). As a result Customs has as main role the supervision, monitoring and control of excise operations which includes processing, blending, bottling, warehousing, ex-warehousing, etc. The list below points out the excise operations that need customs supervision and/or authorization.
- The manufacture and removal/transfer of excisable goods such as perfumed spirits and denatured alcohol.
- The transfer and the fixing of a still.
- The placement and replacement of a seal on a still.
- Customs also perform Post Control Auditing on the operations of the manufacturers of alcoholic products, plastic carrier bags and plastic pet bottles to verify the Stock Book of finished product, material used, and any waste that result from production.