HM Customs on St Helena can be described as still operating as a traditional Customs agency having a lot of focus on fiscal subject whilst monitoring and facilitating trade at three ports of entry – Jamestown, Rupert’s and St Helena Airport.
Protecting St Helena Borders
HM Custom’s authorities uphold and enforces the law by controlling the flow of imports and exports on St Helena. Customs monitor prohibited, restricted and illegal imports deterring the importation of contraband, smuggling and other criminal activities that may be related to cross-borders movement. This aspect of the job is focused on border security and the safety of society. To achieve these goals we work closely with other agencies like the Safety, Security and Home Affairs and Environment and Natural Recourses Portfolio and the St Helena Airport.
HM Custom’s authority is responsible for applying tariffs on imported goods. All of the taxes collected is based on import taxes. The current market does not allow for export tariffs with the business environment for the export market being very small and is still very much in the development stages.
Whilst the largest amounts of revenue is generated from import duty there are other types of duty that is collected such as Liquor Duty from an on-island alcohol producer. Customs also collect Excise duty which assists with the protection of the environment whether it be applying extra duties for the importation of plastic bags to protect St Helena’s environment or by applying additional charges to sugary foods to encourage healthier living. HM Customs supports and enforces any legal policies implemented by the Collector and council.
On average an amount of approximately £3 million is generated on a yearly basis through the collection of these revenues which in turn supports St Helena with important expenditures like medical services and pensions. Overall St Helena Government collects duty to raise revenues, safeguarding the domestic environment and to regulate the movement of goods.
Recently HM Customs has migrated from Corporate Finance to the Safety, Security & Home Affairs Portfolio.