(2017 highlights and 2018 priorities)
Ministry of Finance, one of eight ministries under the Executive Branch, issued its annual report to President Remengesau highlighting its accomplishments in 2017 and identifying priorities for 2018.
Ministry of Finance has five bureaus and one Information System Support Services. 2017 highlights for each bureau are provided here but few priorities are provided here for information. Details may be obtained from appropriate agencies.
Bureau of National Treasury set a goal in 2017 to be the best-run government in the Pacific region. It’s 2017 highlights include: Finished 2016 Audit with a surplus of about $29,043,560; Closed FY 2017 with an unaudited balance of $9,861,348 revenues in excess of expenditures; Finalized and adopted the travel policies and procedures manual; and Finalized the Regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee (PPEF).
Some of its priorities for FY 2018 include: Finalize the revision of the Real and Personal Property Management (RPPM); Work with Bureau of Budget and Planning to produce the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) to the community; and Procure a new Financial Management Information System (FMIS).
Bureau of Budget and Planning identified the following as its FY 2017 highlights:
- Produced experimental energy and water accounts for Palau using the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Central Framework (SEEA) that would help us monitor and evaluate the implementation of our national policies on Energy and Water Resources.
- Produced Tourism Expenditure and Revenue Estimates for Palau to help measure the impact of spending by international visitors on Palau’s economy.
- Completed and submitted updated Extended Continental Shelf submission for north area along the Palau Kyushu Bridge.
- Completed and successfully defended the naming of several seamounts, ridges and basins to the north of Palau.
- Completed and integrated 2015 agriculture survey data and 2015 Census data into GIS.
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Localization Mapping completed, resulting in a matrix containing the selected global SDG indicators that Palau deems to be national priority, accessible and reportable. (three other highlights were left out in this publication)
One of the FY 2018 priorities for Bureau of Budget and Planning is to Conduct Labor Force Survey (LFS) to provide important information that Palau can draw on to develop and improve its labor market, in job creation, education and training, identifying gaps in the labor market and designing suitable programs to enhance skill levels especially for Palau’s youth.
Bureau of Public Service System identified the following as its FY 2017 highlights:
- New Hire Orientation Program developed and began with new hires oriented with Public Service System Rules and Regulations, procedures and processes.
- Developed programs and activities that promoted citizen job placement in both private and public sector including the 2017 Job Fair; working closely with private companies such as Palau Royal Resort, WCTC, Delta Airlines and other to find Palauan citizens jobs.
- Sought and delivered several management and leadership training to supervisors in the public Service System.
- Established an electronic document policy.
- Developed simple, clear guidelines and tools for procurement of services.
Two BPSS’s top priorities for FY 2018 are: Develop protocols and procedures with the Division of Labor to ensure more opportunities for Palauans in the workforce and Develop and provide training and activities that support improvement of Government employee accountability and performance.
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) says “its primary focus continues to be on revenue collection to include other critical roles – border management and protection of Palau’s borders while facilitating people through travel, goods and all crafts.”
For FY 2017 highlights, BCBP reports the following under Revenue and Imports:
- 14% increase in collections for FY 2017 showing total collected revenue of $24,074,301 over FY 2016 of $20,987,998. Collections are derived from all imports, fish exports, departure tax, green fee, dbc fee, penalties, water vessels & storage fees.
- Processed 15,781 entries in FY 2017 over 18,309 in FY 2016.
- Reported that all 2016 and 2017 Import Tax Liability Agreements are paid and number of ITLA in FY 2017 were only 9 compared to 26 in FY 2016.
- Conduct awareness with all importers and agents to improve on their compliance in order to meet our customs requirements.
- Conduct assessment of current operations at Malakal Port and Post Office Section and put in place new measures to ensure all containers and imports were properly monitored, inspected, tax assessed and cleared.
- Implement cost saving measures and purchased scanners to conduct electronic filing of all entries.
Enhancing Palau Border Protection through Management and Enforcement:
- FY 2017 Customs cleared 142,519 passengers, 1391 inbound flights at airport while effectively managing the associated risks.
- Cleared 150 vessels that arrived by sea. This includes 32 yachts, 64 cargo vessels, 15 tankers, 4 passenger liners and other vessels.
- Customs attended a total of 316 fishing operations and cleared a total of 64 fishing vessels that arrived from foreign port. A total of 513 fishing vessels were inspected from the fishing grounds.
- Customs inspected a total of 2,782 containers to include 641 containers at the port and 2141 on site or outside the port. There were a total of 909 vehicles that arrived in Palau in 2017.
- Customs work with other agencies including Bio-Security, Immigration, Narcotics Enforcement Agency and Post Office in order to achieve common objectives by sharing of intelligence, combating threat of drugs, contraband, terrorism, illegal immigration and trafficking into Palau.
- In cooperation with NEA and Post Office, FY 2017 Customs seized 25.3 grams of meth at Airport, 60.7 grams of meth from the Post Office, and 4.3 grams from fishing vessels. Five cases were filed as a result.
- Total of 16 cases of undeclared currency in excess of $10,000 that were uncovered. 5% fine was imposed on 12 of the cases, 2 were issued warning and 2 are pending.
Trade Facilitation highlights include:
- Strengthen Customs facilitation of trade by Advanced Notification of all crafts arriving and departing.
- Improve clearance for low risk consignments by introduction of streamlined SAD Forms for import entry preparations, verify entries based on risk management.
Included in list of FY 2018 BCBS priorities, is the improvement and updating of Customs Information System (CIS) Automated System and Implementation of the new HS 2017 Harmonized Tariff Code on CIS and conduct training of all staff and stakeholders.
Bureau of Revenue and Taxation list the following as its FY 2017 highlights.
- Implement new hybrid-semi functional Organizational Structure.
- Revenue collections went up despite downturn in number of tourists.
- Significant increase in compliance from 73% to 82%.
- Took back from Social Security Administration issuance of Tax Identification Number as required by law and improved it as follows:
- Simplified obtaining business id numbers process
- Eased the burden on taxpayers in compliance by not requiring taxpayers to purchased ID#s a was the case previously.
- Improved license application process
- Improved business license renewal process
- Reduced wait time from 5 days to one day turn around (upon payment) for picking up business license certificates.
- Developed New Tax Forms and made all forms accessible through website.
- Began requiring taxpayers to sign off on an acknowledgement form to follow tax requirements.
- Released new pamphlet on law updates
One of the identified key priorities of Bureau of Tax & Revenue for FY 2018 is Tax Reform – Value Added Tax. Will review the ACT with PFTAC assistance for submission to OEK.
(Not all FY 2017 highlights or FY 2018 priorities were presented in this summary report. For more information, contact the appropriate agencies.) [/restrict]