Staff at the Saigon Port Border Customs Sub-department Region I in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - The HCM City Customs Department collected taxes worth nearly 94 trillion VND (4.25 billion USD) last year, a 5 percent year-on-year increase, accounting for 36 percent of the entire country-wide revenue.

"Last year 48 percent of imports came from nations having free trade agreements with Vietnam, and they enjoyed very low taxes," Le Duc Loi, Deputy Head of the city Customs Department, said while delivering the yearly report at a meeting on January 15.

"Tax on petrol reduced sharply and with much evasion, tax collection dropped.

"Thanks to the doubling of imports of cars with fewer than nine seats, customs could collect 17.6 trillion VND (800 million USD) comparing with 8.5 trillion VND (380 million USD) in 2014, and that helped customs achieve the year's plan."

In 2015 the Customs Department achieved another important goal of recovering 750 billion VND (34 million USD) in long-term tax debts, 116.5 percent of the amount targeted.

In modernising customs procedures, an e-manifest for ships carrying import and export goods has replaced the multiple procedures in place earlier.

In HCM City there are 52 shipping companies and 489 agents registered to file e-manifests.

Air and road transport will switch over to it in future.

Last year customs officials discovered nearly 2,300 cases of smuggling involving goods worth 221 billion VND besides confiscating 43.5kg cocaine and 18kg of other drugs.

They checked 20,700 containers, achieving 116 percent of the target.

"Limited human resources, sophisticated smuggling methods, and frauds committed with the connivance of customs officials are weaknesses," Loi said.

This year the department hopes to collect taxes worth 102.5 trillion VND (4.65 billion USD), a year-on-year increase of 9.1 percent, combat smuggling and trade fraud, improve personnel management, review and publicly announce customs procedures, and strengthen use of IT.-VNA