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Political support for Customs reform in Burundi

14 mayo 2019

At the invitation of Dr. Domitien Ndihokubwayo, Burundi’s Minister of Finance, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Bujumbura, Burundi on 13 and 14 May 2019 in support of the country’s ongoing Customs modernization process.

Dr. Mikuriya visited the one-stop border post of Kobero, some 200 km from Bujumbura, to observe Customs operations at the border with Tanzania.  The Commissioner General of the Burundi Revenue Authority (Office Burundais des Recettes - (OBR)), Hon. Audace Niyonzima, accompanied Dr. Mikuriya during his visit to explain him Customs operations.  One-stop border procedures were introduced in 2014 in conjunction with Tanzanian Customs and Immigration Services.  Over 70% of trade between the two countries goes through this border post, with the majority of goods in transit coming from the port of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.  Dr. Mikuriya was informed of the selectivity system in place, with a blue lane for Authorized Economic Operators and the use of non-intrusive inspection systems.

Secretary General Mikuriya was received by the Minister of Finance and sought political support for Customs reform in four areas: (i) ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; (ii) ratification of the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention; (iii) enhancement of private sector partnership through the Trade Information Portal (TIP); and (iv) improvements to the information technology infrastructure in support of risk management.  In response, the Minister agreed to increase the visibility of the Government’s commitment to developing the business environment through the ratification of international instruments   He also reaffirmed his support for allocating greater resources to the OBR.

In addition, Dr. Mikuriya visited Gatumba border post at the Burundi-Democratic Republic of the Congo border, at which Customs processes trade in agricultural goods by small traders, with some 5,000 individuals crossing the border daily subject to approval by the Immigration Service.