Equipping customs staff with modern methods of conducting customs activities is key in tackling cross border issues such as security, illegal importation of illicit drugs, human trafficking and trading in counterfeits, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said Thursday.
“Though a lot has been done in building the capacity of officers in charge of collecting and managing customs in the eastern and southern Africa region, equipping them further with modern methods of conducting customs activities, including application of IT, needs to continue,” said Ngirente when opening a two-day Governing Council Meeting of the World Customs Organization, East and Southern Africa Region (WCO ESA region).
Ngirente urged delegates to deliberate on issues aiming at providing tangible measures, noting that special focus must also be put on modernization of customs by ensuring that all World Customs Organization tools and packages are effectively utilized.
The WCO ESA region is composed of 24 member countries namely Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania, among others.
The meeting hosted by Rwanda Revenue Authority convened senior officials of customs from the member states and representatives from the African Union, among others.
The Thursday’s meeting follows a meeting of WCO ESA Regional Steering Committee held in Kigali from Monday to Wednesday.
The two meetings are expected to help customs administrations to improve their efficiency by equipping customs staff with new skills to cope with technological changes as customs contribute up to 40 percent of national revenues, said the statement. Enditem