Tanzania Revenue Authority to enhance HS Classification and Valuation skills with support from WCO and Norad

22 February 2013

The need to design and implement performing HS Classification and Valuation systems is common to many countries where trade facilitation and revenue collection play both a key role in the generation of resources for social and economic development. In this framework and in line with the principles set in its fourth Corporate Plan, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) implements a policy to develop its human resources to "sustain revenue collection and steadily improve compliance levels". In its endeavors in the areas of Valuation and Harmonized System Classification, TRA will be supported by a recently launched project, Customs Capacity Building for WCO members 2012-2015, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and implemented by WCO. The project covers six Countries: in addition to Tanzania, support will be provided to Liberia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

This two year project aims at enhancing the skills and the knowledge of TRA staff who deal with valuation and classification procedures, and strengthening the relevant infrastructure. One of the building blocks of the program will be the training of trainers within TRA, so as to ensure the sustainability of the training activity. The expected results of this component are deeper valuation and classification technical knowledge for specialists and for Post-Clearance Audit staff, and a framework for effective valuation and classification training for non-specialists. Moreover, the possibility of implementing a program for issuing binding tariff information by Tanzania Customs will be examined with the TRA. In addition to this, the WCO will mobilize some expertise for the development of databases that should meet TRA needs and be used as risk assessment tools. Because trade facilitation focuses on the business community, business representatives will be involved in the implementation of some awareness-raising events and, to some extent, training. The aim is to help build confidence and trust between Customs and the compliant trade sector, and maximize the opportunities to share knowledge and expertise.

With technical support from WCO, a feasibility study for a Customs Laboratory (HS classification analysis) will be also carried out: the aim of TRA is that in due time Customs will have direct access to a dedicated laboratory for analysis for HS Classification purposes. In this framework, TRA hosted a workshop on Customs laboratories organized by WCO with financial support from CCF Japan: the workshop took place in Dar Es-Salaam from 11 to 14 February 2013.

The mission to formulate the contents and the methodology of the support to be provided by WCO to TRA took place from February 4 to 8, 2013 in Dar Es-salaam. Conducted by WCO staff, it was coordinated by the department of Trade Facilitation and Procedure of TRA, and placed under the auspices of the office of the Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority.

Much of the material which will be used to assist TRA will be based on the WCO’s Revenue Package programme. This programme was developed to assist Customs administrations in identifying and collecting the amount of revenue legally due. New guidelines have been developed which focus on, inter alia, the practical application of the principles of the WTO Valuation Agreement and establishing an effective infrastructure for tariff classification work.