Strong political support for Customs reform in Albania

21 abril 2011

Strong political support for Customs reform in Albania

Tirana, 18-20 April 2011


At the invitation of Director General Flamur Gjymishka of Albanian Customs, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Tirana, Albania from 18-20 April 2011. Whilst in the country the Secretary General visited the port of Durres and also met the Customs management team, the Prime Minister and political leaders to discuss Customs modernization.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha attributed a high priority in the national agenda to Customs reform, having just created an inter-ministerial meeting on the Single Window to facilitate trade where Customs plays a leading role. The government had prepared a new draft Customs Code in line with international standards.

Based on this progress and the strong political support for Customs, Secretary General Mikuriya encouraged accession to WCO instruments, including the Revised Kyoto Convention, to demonstrate Albania's commitment to international Customs standards and the global trading system.

Prime Minister Berisha also stressed the importance of fighting corruption and agreed that Customs could be a showcase for good governance based on its recent progress in automation, new legislation for risk-based procedures and improved human resource management, including the planned establishment of a training academy.

The Secretary General also met Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode and discussed the improvement of the investment climate. The Secretary General suggested that performance of border procedures should be assessed by facts, such as the time spent for each process, to identify bottlenecks caused by Customs, other government agencies and business. This would highlight the progress made by Customs and the possible need for further progress by all players at the border.

It was agreed that the WCO would send a mission in the near future to help Albanian Customs develop a strategic plan to chart the way forward.

Secretary General Mikuriya also visited the joint border post between Albania and Montenegro where the two countries' Customs and border police officials work together at the same spot to provide a one stop service to clear passenger cars. As a result of this integrated border management infrastructure opened in 2008, the volume of travellers had increased significantly.