Official: Airport stakeholders knew about fee hike

THE CNMI Customs Division did notify airport stakeholders about the increase in the customs and quarantine fee, Customs Services Director Jose C. Mafnas said.

“They [airline operators] were given enough time to comment,” he said, reacting to the report that airline companies were complaining about the fee increase from $1 to $7.

Mafnas said he first discussed the proposed fee increase last year, during the airport operators committee meeting with representatives of airline companies.

The new rate will take effect this Thursday, March 1. It could have been implemented on Jan. 1, but Mafnas said they decided to delay it.

He noted that the proposed increase was also published in local newspapers but “we never received any comments.”

In Dec. 2017, Mafnas said he issued a memorandum reminding airport stakeholders about the proposed fee increase.

He added that he again mentioned it in yet another airport operators committee meeting attended by representatives from the Commonwealth Development Authority, the Commonwealth Ports Authority and other stakeholders.

“We are assuming they are for with it because they never complained,” he told Variety.

Mafnas said the old rate of $1 has been in place since the early 1990’s.

The revenue generated from the fee is not enough to cover the operation cost, he said, adding that after conducting an analysis, they decided to increase the fee to supplement their budget, particularly their overtime expenses.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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