SINGAPORE - The Singapore Customs operations building officially opened at Bulim Drive in Jurong West on Friday (Nov 15), relocating from its Keppel Road premises after close to 80 years.
The new building uses modern facilities to support Singapore Customs' enforcement operations as well as the training and development of its officers.
It will also allow for intelligence, investigation and compliance-related functions to go under one roof, Singapore Customs said on Friday (Nov 15).
The need to find a replacement facility came after Customs was informed in 2009 that its Keppel Road site had been earmarked for re-development, Singapore Customs said in a release.
The Keppel Road building was built in 1940 and originally designed to provide office space for Customs staff working at the sea ports and serve as staff quarters.
The building was later re-purposed as a base for enforcement operations from the 1960s.
The department's role is to ensure a fair and competitive playing field for traders, while also protecting government revenue by taking enforcement action against those who attempt to evade duties and taxes through fraudulent declarations or bringing in contraband goods.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said amid increasing pressures of protectionism and nationalism working against free trade, the Customs authorities across the world must pursue trade facilitative measures to promote the seamless flow of good across borders.
“Singapore Customs should continue to promote and support free trade as part of a rules-based multilateral trade order.”
However, Mr Wong cautioned that “we need to remain a secure and trusted node in the international supply chain. Otherwise, Singapore’s excellent connectivity could be exploited for illicit and illegal trade”.
He added that leveraging technology would help Singapore customs as an organisation improve operations, but officers too should be keen to embrace new technologies and work processes.
“Customs officers should take the initiative to reskill and upskill, so that you are able to master new technologies, you don’t have to be afraid of changes that are taking place in the organisation, and you will be ready to take on new roles,” he said.
Director-general of customs Mr Ho Chee Pong saidthe new facility enhances the operational capability of Singapore Customs and affirms its commitment to protecting revenue, and making trade easy, fair and secure.