PNG Government has begun an independent audit to verify Puma Energy’s K4 billion import tax liability on crude oil import.
PNG Customs Chief Commissioner Ray Paul told The National yesterday that the audit which started this month was on the 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax (import GST).
The review of the GST is coordinated by the Treasury Department and involves Customs Services, the Internal Revenue Commission and Puma Energy.
“The audit is being carried out to review the records of PNG Customs and IRC and reconcile against records of Puma Energy to verify the amount claimed as owed to the State by Puma Energy,” Paul said.
“There is no understanding or compromise with the legal requirements and processes of Customs. And Puma Energy, like any other business in the fuel and energy industry, is bound to adhere to the existing Customs processes and requirements.”
Puma Energy closed down its refinery at Napa Napa in April because of the differences with the State on the $4bn tax bill. It re-opened its operations this week. Paul said the closing down of the refinery by Puma Energy “was solely a commercial decision and we respect that”.
“However, should it decide to resume operation, we are ready to assist and work closely with Puma Energy to ensure its operations meet existing Customs requirements and processes,” he said.
He reminded the business community that “you should know well the entire customs import process and how it works.
“The import process involves other players who deal with imported cargoes independently. At certain points, you have to pay Customs, NAQIA, wharf handling fees to stevedores and port operators.
“It is therefore important that you adhere to their respective processes and requirements.”
Puma Energy country manager Jim Collings said the company was committed to its contribution to the growth and prosperity of PNG. It also respects that there is a need to get the right regulatory conditions in pace to support that development, he said.
“In respect of the current issues being worked through between Customs and Puma Energy, we also respect that while we both may have different interpretations of the situation, there is a process to work through to deliver the right solution,” he said.