Madagascar's political leaders support progress in Customs reform

05 February 2013

At the invitation of Director General Vola Razafindramiandra of Madagascar Customs, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya of the WCO visited Madagascar from 5-7 February 2013 to appreciate Madagascar’s progress in Customs reform in recent years. In the country's capital, Antananarivo, Secretary General Mikuriya had a series of meetings with political leaders, including the Prime Minister, Jean Omar Beriziky, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierrot Rajaonarivelo, and the Minister of Finance and Budget, Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina.

Recognizing the importance of Customs and the support given by the WCO, as a former Ambassador to Brussels, the Prime Minister pledged his support for Customs reform, including the fight against corruption, while stressing the need to enhance controls against illicit trade. Also acknowledging the crucial role Customs plays in his country's strategic position, the Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the significance of Customs cooperation with surrounding countries in transferring knowledge and sharing information. Familiar with Customs’ modernization, the Minister of Finance and Budget commended Customs for applying innovative measures, such as state-of-the-art scanners, in facilitating and securing the supply chain and helping to ensure connectivity at the border.

The Secretary General travelled to Toamasina, the biggest port in the country, to observe its operations, which were well coordinated between the port authority, the container service company and Customs through GasyNet – the port community system – and ASYCUDA. In addition, an advanced scanner was installed last year to improve the efficiency of controls. Customs intends to reduce the current scanning rate of around 30% of containers at import by upgrading the automated selectivity system. The growing problem of rosewood smuggling from Madagascar to East Asia forced Customs to implement 100% scanning of containers for export. He also visited Ambatovy, the country's biggest refinery of nickel and cobalt, to observe the transport and logistics management which is being undertaken in close cooperation with Customs.

Back in Antananarivo, Secretary General Mikuriya met with the media and then with the Customs management team to discuss how Customs could apply further innovative measures, including the enhancement of human resource development and training, as well as other issues of concern and interest. There was a suggestion of extending the Customs communication network within the sub-region and also towards Asia, in line with the WCO Globally Networked Customs concept. Later, the Minister of Finance and Budget, as well as representatives from the private sector, joined the session to jointly celebrate the progress in Customs reform under the strong leadership of the Director General of Customs.