Suva, Fiji, 23 March 2021 – Jayvina Victus is a Customs and Revenue Officer IV with the Customs and Tax Administration under the Department of FSM Finance. In the 13 years of her career as a revenue officer and in her present role, she has grown both professionally and personally. She has had to take the bull by the horns in the most unexpected of circumstances, and backing down obviously was not an option. Those challenges presented new opportunities, and have taught her a valuable life lesson she now heeds on a daily basis to help her with work and wellbeing.
This is her story
A servant of the State and a mother, Jayvina Victus deserves mention and commendation as the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) dedicates this year’s International Women’s Day to Pacific women working in Customs.
Thirteen years in the Federated States of Micronesia’s Customs and Tax Administration, Jayvina has dutifully carried out the responsibilities required of her as a revenue agent. At that, the challenge of timely productivity has been one of her major difficulty, performing numerous tasks all with a daily deadline with very limited manpower.
Jayvina joined Customs and Tax Administration in FSM as a Revenue Agent I in 2009. In 2013, she was promoted to the position of Revenue Officer III. And following the reclassification of her job title in 2018, she then became the Customs and Revenue Officer IV, the position she holds today.
As Customs and Revenue Officer IV
Jayvina joined the organisation 11 years after the merger between the Revenue and Tax Division and the Customs Division – now the Customs and Tax Administration under the Department of FSM Finance.
In her present role as the Customs and Revenue Officer IV, her job demands assurance that officers in the unit perform all duties and responsibilities accurately, efficiently, and in accordance with FSM Customs and Tax laws and regulations.
“I have to ensure taxes such as import tax, business gross revenue tax, wages and salary tax are collected in a timely manner,” Jayvina says.
She updates the tax roll, and inputs income tax for the process of annual tax refunds. She updates and collects delinquent accounts, and also issues demands for filing and payments of taxes.
Because Jayvina is also the Customs officer, she carries out clearance and inspections of passengers and shipments, air cargo and mails at the airport, dock, and post office. Before close of business daily, she also does collections and deposited in the bank the same day.
Jayvina particularly recalls the year 2013 to be the most challenging one professionally for her.
Although the two divisions had already merged, the duties and responsibilities of the two offices, however, were performed separately. At that time, there were only two staff members, including Jayvina, who looked after revenue and tax responsibilities. Then the most unexpected happened – her only workmate resigned on medical grounds.
She recalls having to carry out the unit’s responsibilities solo.
“After my colleague resigned due to medical issues, I was responsible for everything, from the processing of tax refund to receiving and receipting of quarterly taxes, to issuing of demands for noncompliance. “It was very overwhelming.”
And imaginably so.
It was around then that Jayvina discovered her biggest nemesis – time management. Daily tasks were completed but not always on time. She identified time management as her greatest daily challenge. Besides attending internal trainings on time management facilitated by Customs and Tax, she switched into self-help mode and browsed online to find easier and updated tools of staying ahead with work while keeping time in check.
“I found out a lot about time management skills. It was a big help and I was able to get things circulated little by little.”
Jayvina’s work scale tipped a little the following year when a new revenue agent was recruited.
“We managed to get by but we still needed more help.”
In 2018, following the re-association of job titles, duties and responsibilities, work has become more “enjoyable and less stressful”.
Learning to stop and rest
After acquiring skills on how to manage her time, Jayvina has also unlocked the door to something she never gave much thought to – well-being. She now commits to having ‘me time’ to replenish and rejuvenate, to perform better every time.
“Overcoming the challenge (of time management) made me feel confident as an officer, also as a woman and a mother.
“I now have time managed at work, at home and all around. It doesn’t just help me with getting things done accurately and on time but it also helps me with my health.
“Once the time to rest hits, I just immediately stop what I’m doing and I just rest.”
This viral pandemic and subsequent widespread repercussion has translated into shutdowns of businesses – and job losses in the process, affected regional and international trade, movement of goods and services, and largely travel, which in a natural turn hit tourism big.
Despite all, it only meant that for Jayvina and her colleagues, they had to work twice as hard.
“We had to work extra hard to maintain or to reach our goals every fiscal year. And surprisingly we exceed the given targets.”
For more information or for any queries, please contact the Secretariat or email: email@example.com
Our Gender Program: In 2019, the OCO held its inaugural Change Management on Gender Equality workshop, which suggested there should be gender equality on all aspects of OCO’s work program. This suggestion was endorsed at the 2020 OCO Annual Conference. In 2020, OCO member countries were encouraged to celebrate the International Women’s Day in their own administrations and to share their activities widely. This year, OCO is dedicating the month of March to our women. The Pacific Women in Customs Series is a collection of stories of women who are working in Customs in their various countries and we hope to inspire more women to join this field of work.