Food importers to benefit from improved import permit system

Importers of foodstuffs and other goods of plant and animal origin will have a new and improved system as of January 1, 2012. The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) is working to improve its services to businesses and the public on issuing of import permits.

NAQIA will provide an option for regular, large-volume importers to plan and apply for multiple entry permits valid for up to six months. A multiple entry permit system will be beneficial to importers as it will reduce the number of permit applications and amount of time spent on lodging numerous applications at nearly the same cost.

NAQIA a/CEO Andrew Yamanea

NAQIA Acting Managing Director, Andrew Yamanea, explained the new system during a meeting with over 50 representatives from business houses, government and the public at Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby last week.

Mr Yamanea said the roundtable meeting discussed issues relating to multiple entry permits to imports of foodstuffs including rice, flour, fresh fruits and vegetables, UHT milk, noodles, malt, frozen meat, poultry products, stock feed, and other goods of plant and animal origin into PNG, as stipulated under the NAQIA Act 1997, Plant and Disease Control Act, and Animal and Animal Disease Control Act.

Mr Yamanea, who was impressed with the large turnout, said applications for the permits will be limited to clients who import a specific product on a regular or frequent basis, and will only be for the products that are from a NAQIA-approved source and deemed to be of low biosecurity risks.

He said that due to increase in business activities in PNG, NAQIA realises that the current system needs to be reviewed to ensure that it is simpler; there is reduced workload; and payment procedures are also streamlined. Currently, some importers are applying for permits almost every week meaning there is a lot of paperwork involved. NAQIA is making the changes to cut down on this workload to enable its staff to concentre on other important tasks.

Mr Yamanea reiterated during the meeting that NAQIA is mandated to protect the country from unwanted animal and plant pests and diseases and therefore the action is in the best interest of the government, the people and business sector. He said PNG is now facing increased business activities due to the PNG LNG project and other developments and must be vigilant in its quarantine and protection roles.

The features of the multiple entry permit include:

  • duration of six months validity,
  • items must be from a NAQIA approved source,
  • items deemed as low biosecurity risk will be considered,
  • items deemed as high biosecurity risk will be excluded (such as live organisms of any type), and
  • consignments will be subjected to normal inspection, charges, and fees.

NAQIA will have the right to review the current multiple entry import permit if the health status of the items changes. More information can be obtained from NAQIA.

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