Strong political support for Samoa Customs modernization

03 August 2016

At the invitation of Samoa Customs Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Avalisa Viali Fautua’alii, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Apia, Samoa, on 29 July 2016.

After a tour of Customs headquarters at the port, he met Minister for Revenue and Prisons, Mr. Tialavea Leniu Tionisio Hunt, and his Associate Minister. The Samoa Customs IT system has been extended to other border agencies and is now enhancing border security, in addition to its traditional function of revenue collection. Following a WCO mission to conduct a gap analysis in respect of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), Samoa is reviewing its Customs Code to bridge the gap identified and to move to formal accession to the RKC. The meeting also identified the needs and priorities with regard to capacity building, particularly from the perspective of small island economies.

Secretary General Mikuriya was received by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Mr. Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesollai Aiono Neioti Sailele Malielegaoi, who underlined the importance of Customs for revenue collection and border security. In response, the Secretary General agreed that the WCO would provide assistance to Samoa Customs with respect to accession to the RKC, with a view to improving the business environment through efficient Customs procedures. He also provided information on an upcoming Revenue Package mission and the Regional Workshop on the WCO’s Security Programme. The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the WCO’s contribution and promised his support for Customs modernization.

Secretary General Mikuriya also met with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and other senior Cabinet members to discuss economic development in the Pacific region.