PORT MORESBY - The PNG Customs Services is doubling efforts to clamp down on illegal activities involving products that have come into the country without proper checks.
Customs Commissioner Ray Paul said there are plans to increase manpower to monitor the PNG-Indonesia border as illegal product trafficking is on the rise.
With the recent discovery of illegal weapons being trafficked into PNG, PNG Customs Service is increasing its manpower to counter attack these activities. They said many of these firearms are brought in from Indonesia.
During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bali, a Plan of Action agreement was signed to expand on existing bilateral relations between the two countries.
One part of the agreement was to increase Border Connectivity between Indonesia’s Papua Province and PNG’s West Sepik and Western provinces by building an international road infrastructure.
The link will enhance communication systems. And, it will also mean customs and quarantine regulations will need emphasis and field officers increased.
Customs Commissioner Ray Paul has admitted the manpower is currently not enough.
“One officer is doing about 10 per cent of his job at any one time, working extra hard just to bring in more money for the country and doing what is right at the boarders,” said Paul.
However, he said they will be recruiting over 480 officers soon. And with this new development in border connectivity, there are plans already in place with education institutions to recruit another 500 to 1000 officers.
“We have come into some arrangements with Divine Word University to have Customs Programs thought there. We have consultants to help write up most of our courses,” said Ray Paul.
Customs currently is adequately networking with police, the defence force and the national intelligence organization at the border provinces.
A Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia’s Customs office is underway and will be signed for both countries to work cohesively in tightening border security.
Caption: Customs Commissioner Ray Paul has planned to increase manpower to monitor the PNG-Indonesia border as illegal product trafficking is on the rise. [EMTV]