Mikuriya tasks African political leaders on Customs capacity building

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya

Secretary General, World Customs Organisation (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya has urged political leaders in Africa, G20 partners and the international organisations to provide sufficient resources and support for capacity building in institution building in understanding Customs strength and potential contribution.

Mikuriya stated this at the G20 Africa Conference held recently in Berlin and declared opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the presence of a number of Presidents and Ministers of Finance of African countries as well as heads of international organisations.

The main points that emerged from the keynote speeches in relation to Customs work were economic growth, domestic resource mobilisation, peace and security and capacity building.

Speaking on macroeconomic stability and developing strong tax systems, WCO Secretary General explained the Customs operational model of transaction-based real time actions and its significance in capturing commercial data at the borders, fighting effectively against fraud, and tackling the issue of illicit financial flow.

Mikuriya pointed out that building on this operational model, Customs major functions have evolved to include efficient collection of revenue, with Customs contributing, on average, to around 40 percent of tax revenue in African states; provision of an enabling environment for private investment by the development of soft infrastructure for trade and transport through simplification, digitisation in collaboration with other regular agencies and a risk-based approach that is required by the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation; and contribution to security through a continuous and relentless fight against illicit trade.

He emphasised the need for ownership approach by political leaders by applying best practices that the WCO offers towards regional integration in Africa, involving the African Union and regional economic communities in a more collaborative manner.