KUCHING: The Ministry Of Infrastructure Development and Communications and the state port authorities should establish a uniform mechanism to verify cargo quantity.
The Auditor General (AG) said the ministry should also impose security guarantee and standardise the computation method, and this should be included in the Work Procedure Manual or Work Instruction to protect the interests of the government.
In addition, the ministry should also foster cooperation among the state port authorities, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) so that enforcement activities were better planned and coordinated.
These were among the recommendations made by the AG through his AG Report for 2013 to better manage collection of port dues in the state.
The AG also recommended that the state port authorities should cooperate with SRB and Land and Survey Department so that a complete register of private/individual jetty in the whole state could be maintained to facilitate monitoring and enforcement activities.
Sarawak has five major ports, namely Kuching Port Authority, Rajang Port Authority, Miri Port Authority, Tanjung Manis Port Authority and Samalaju Port Authority established through the Port Authorities Ordinance, 1961. The ministry is responsible for formulating the policies, coordinate and supervise the activities of the state port authorities.
Port dues are a state revenue and its collection is the responsibility of the state port authorities.
The rate to be charged is RM2 per metric tonne or per passenger as provided in The Port Authorities Ordinance, 1961. Port Dues is chargeable to the companies or shipping agents who use the private/individual jetty in handling and unloading cargoes.
From 2011 to 2013, a total of 23.94 million metric tonnes of goods comprising petroleum, timber and sawn timber, coal and building materials brought in port dues totalling RM48.58 million.
The audit, which was carried out from February to March this year, showed that the overall performance management on collection of port dues was satisfactory.
However, the AG said there were some weaknesses that need to be improved. Among them are over verification on the accuracy of the tonnage, which the AG found unsatisfactory.
Others the AG found unsatisfactory included internal controls on the collection of dues, overall inspections of sufferance wharf as they were not carried out, and registration of private/individual jetty as they were not maintained and updated.
The AG said in order to improve the management on collection of port dues in Sarawak and to ensure that the issues raised would not recur, it is recommended that the State Accountant and state port authorities estimate the annual port dues collection based on the increase/decrease numbers of ships coming in/out, the numbers of private/individual jetty, trend analysis on product imports/exports or also on previous year actual collection of port dues.