A week-long training for customs authorities in Anglophone-speaking West African states has opened in Monrovia with the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) pledging to raise the country’s customs regimes to modern standards.
“Customs has today moved away from the traditional gate-keeper concept to an approach which meets the growing demands of growing trade facilitation,” Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba said Monday, 9 November during opening ceremonies of the World Customs Organization (WCO) - West African Customs Administrations Modernization (WACAM) Project Regional Workshop on Strategic Management.
The LRA boss noted that Customs operations nowadays require the implementation of proper border procedures, operations of border processes and setting the appropriate balance between border control and trade facilitation. “The Liberia Revenue Authority LRA is fully committed to this process,” she asserted.
Commissioner Tamba underscored the importance of the workshop and stressed that strategic management cannot be ignored in 21st century customs, and generally revenue administration and business management anywhere in the world.
The LRA is no exception in working to meet global best practices and norms in its customs and revenue administration, she stressed. WCO representative, Philip Wood, said the project intends to help work with a number of customs authorities in Africa to strengthen their capacities.
He said it’s not about developing new plans but to build capacities that lead to developing excellent strategic plans for implementations aimed at meeting requirement of the 21st century and the WCO’s trade facilitation operations, among others.
‘We are here to work with you, to prepare you and not to do it for you….we are here to develop your capacity,’ Woods told the opening ceremonies at the Bella Casa Hotel in Monrovia. Gambia Revenue Authority Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe, at the head of his country’s delegation described the workshop as an opportunity for customs authorities to share their respective experiences in making improvements in their respective countries. He underscored the significance of strategic planning, stating, “Without a proper strategic planning, the organization cannot move with a direction.”
He challenged customs authorities of the region to have strategic plans that are understandable and implementable. Meanwhile, the Customs Commissioner of Liberia, Saa Saamoi, has lauded the WCO for choosing Monrovia as venue for the workshop, stating that it is a vote of confidence in Liberia after the deadly Ebola crisis.