Discussing Customs Modernisation: Visit to Oman

29 April 2013

At the invitation of Mr. Issa bin Saeed Alkumy, Director General of Oman Customs, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Muscat, Oman, on 27-28 April 2013 to discuss Customs modernisation with political leaders of the country.

As Oman Customs is part of the Royal Oman Police, Secretary General Mikuriya visited the headquarters of the latter and met Mr. Hassan bin Mohsin Al-Shraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs. He explained the expanded mission of Customs, including trade security, and also stressed that Customs could contribute to economic competitiveness, thereby addressing unemployment, which was often the source of instability and security concerns. He emphasized that the Customs’ role in combating illicit trade would help to reduce the source of funding for organised crime and terrorism that undermine the integrity of the State.

The Secretary General then met with Mr. Suleiman bin Mohammed Al Harhy, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Customs with responsibility for Administration and Finance, to discuss the best way to strategically identify the needs of Customs, including the human resource aspect.

After visiting the Sultan Qaboos port in Mutra and observing Customs operations there, the Secretary General met the Minister responsible for Financial Affairs, Mr. Darweesh bin Isma'eel Al Balushi, and discussed the revenue aspect of Customs reform. He explained the linkage between improved efficiency of Customs through applying the Revised Kyoto Convention and the positive effect on revenue collection. Both the Minister and the Secretary General agreed that trust-based partnership between Customs and business is crucial for revenue collection in a fair and efficient manner.

The Secretary General also met Mr. Sultan bin Salim Al-Habsi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, to discuss Oman’s trade and economic development. As the major concern of business is procedures, the Economic Competitiveness Package was identified as the pathway to ensure Customs partnership with business through transparent and predictable border procedures and improved compliance of traders, thereby addressing the matter of economic development.

Secretary General Mikuriya observed that, given the strategic location of the country, Oman has a huge potential for developing trade where Customs can provide the infrastructure for an efficient supply chain. He undertook to provide assistance and advice based on the political commitment of leaders shown during his stay in Muscat.