Raids by Bali Customs and Excise officials carried out on Kuta restaurants, bars and nightspot are drawing criticism from members of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung) who say the raids cause unrest and uncertainty among local businesses. As reported by DenPost, the raids are not only resulting in the confiscation of alcoholic beverages purchased by the businesses but also carry hefty fines of as much as Rp. 20 million (US$2,200) per business.
Puspa Negara, a member of Commission B of the DPRD-Badung, told how Customs and Excise officers are confiscating alcoholic beverage products that have been purchased from formal distributors approved by the Customs and Excise Department. Puspa Negara, a legislator representing the Legian area, said enforcement officer should be targeting their enforcement efforts on the distributors who apparently are selling products not bearing the proper tax stamps and not the local businesses who sell these products. Said Puspa Negara: "The businesses are buying alcoholic products from formal distributors. How do they know if the products are legal or not? whether they are bearing the proper customs stamp or not?"
He also criticized the failure of Customs and Excise officers to coordinate their sweeps and raids with regional officials, choosing instead to conduct unilateral enforcement operations. The Legian lawmaker said the authority of Customs and Excise officers extended to entry ports and not to points of sales in the community.
He was also angered by the Rp. 20 million fines being levied against retail outlets. "These people are small traders, they have already suffered from the confiscation of their inventories. Now they must also pay a fine! In he past the merchandise was only confiscated. Now there are fines. Where are these fines being deposited?" protested Puspa Negara.
The DPRD-Bali will soon summon Customs and Excise officials to the House to answer a number of questions.
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