18th Meeting of the East and Southern Africa Governing Council takes place in Mangochi, Malawi

27 mayo 2013

At the invitation of Mr. James Lenaghan, Mauritius, Vice-Chair of the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Region, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the 18th Meeting of the Governing Council hosted by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) in Mangochi, Malawi on 23 and 24 May 2013.

Opening the meeting, the Deputy Minister for Finance, The Hon Dr. Cornelius Mwalwanda MP, highlighted the importance of the WCO to national administrations through the development of common standards, especially the SAFE Framework of Standards. The Minister also stressed the need for harmonized rules of procedure, international co-operation and the implementation of the Regional Strategic Plan.

Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized the continued progress with the implementation of the Strategic Plan and the four WCO Packages to address Members’ needs. The Governing Council endorsed the Strategic Plan as presented.

In wide-ranging discussions, delegates addressed issues relating to the Region's Strategic Plan, finance and contributions to fund the ROCB, the RILO's relocation to Mozambique, the establishment of a multilingual RTC in Mauritius and the RTC activity report, the outcomes of the WCO Finance Committee and Audit Committee, and reports from the Regional Economic Communities.

In preparation for the forthcoming Policy Commission, delegates discussed the strategic review of the Harmonized System, the composition of the WCO Finance Committee, and alternates for the Policy Commission members.

The Region nominated Malawi as incoming Vice-Chair from 1 July 2013. South Africa and Kenya were nominated as Policy Commission delegates, while Uganda was nominated for the Finance Committee and Lesotho and Zimbabwe for the Audit Committee.

The excellent organization and the warm welcome extended to all delegates by the MRA team, headed by the Commissioner General, Mr. John Biziwick, and the Commissioner of Customs, Ms. Agnes Katsonga Phiri, were acknowledged and appreciated by all present. The 20th Meeting of the ESA Governing Council is scheduled to be held in South Africa in 2014.

Secretary General Mikuriya met with the President of Malawi, Ms. Joyce Banda, on 24 May 2013. She expressed her strong support for Customs reform to improve the efficiency of cross-border movements of goods and thus enhance economic competitiveness, inter alia through accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention and through the application of WCO tools and programmes.