David Towe, the PNG Customs chief commissioner, has warned stricter measures are being introduced. He said local manufacturers and importers had been warned that they could face fines of a million Kina if they failed to comply with the law and didn’t pay taxes.

“Last year, we increased all the penalties that applies to the non-compliance; in the past, it was not tough. The penalties have increased almost 100 per cent to 200 per cent, even up to a million Kina, even one of the importers who tried to evade taxes, we applied close K1.2 million in penalties. That’s unheard of,” Towe said.

The chief commissioner said that collections were going well and were currently four per cent over Customs’ projections. He said, “This year, we were required to collect K3.8 billion in revenue. Out of that, we have done K1.6 billion already, so that is close to 42 per cent done.”

Towe explained, “What we do at the final quarter of the year is that we do a run-off exercise, in that we look at how much we have collected so far, and in the final quarter, everybody goes full swing, to make sure that we collect all the unpaid taxes and chase down anybody who has breached the law and apply a very heavy penalty for non-compliance.”

Mr Towe added his office would eventually catch up with tax avoiders and non-compliant companies, so he encouraged local manufacturers and importers to always comply with the laws and pay what is due.