As part of Phase II of the Columbus Programme and upon the request of the Guinea-Bissau Customs Administration, the World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted a mission to assist with strategic planning in that country from 29 July to 2 August 2013.
The mission was financed by the Japanese Customs Co-operation Fund and enjoyed the support of two experts : Mr. Bernard Zbinden, Co-ordinator for the West and Central Africa Region, and Mr. Fatayu Oyéniyé, an accredited Customs Modernization Adviser from Côte d’Ivoire.
The mission was received in Bissau by Mr. José Demba Buaro, Director General of Guinea-Bissau Customs, his closest associates and the Reform Committee tasked with steering the modernization.
The discussions provided an opportunity to hone the initial draft Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 developed by the Customs Administration itself following the WCO diagnostic in February 2012. Preference was given to greater ownership of the concepts and a sensible yet realistic choice of strategic objectives. Particular emphasis was placed on the need to prioritize projects identified by the Administration and to ensure effective implementation of the changes suggested by the project management structures.
The mission concluded with a summary report made to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau’s Minister of Finance, to whom the experts repeated the need for his Administration to receive all the political and material support required to put the planned reforms into action.
The WCO welcomes the projected progress and reiterates its readiness to support Guinea-Bissau in its Customs modernization efforts.