Zambia Revenue Authority joins the WCO Mercator Programme

31 August 2018

Following a successful joint scoping mission in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the WCO is pleased to welcome the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) as the newest beneficiary of the tailor-made track of the Mercator Programme.  The Mercator Programme is designed to support WCO members to successfully implement the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation through the effective application of WCO instruments and tools. The scoping exercise, which took place from 13 – 17 August 2018 was funded by the Government of the United Kingdom through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs under the framework of the extended HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Programme.

Recognizing the complexity of the trade facilitation environment and the unique Customs-to-Customs capacity-building model of the WCO, the scoping exercise included extensive consultations with different ZRA directorates, along with the Zambian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other cross-border regulatory agencies in Lusaka and at the Chirundu border post. The exchange sought to identify areas where the WCO could complement existing domestic and internationally-supported initiatives and add technical value through the effective application of WCO instruments and tools and the mobilization of the WCO’s extensive network of Customs-to-Customs expertise. Discussions covered a wide range of technical issues, including risk management, post-clearance audit, measurement of release times, authorized operators, coordinated border management, Customs brokers, Single Window and consultations with the private sector.  The private sector’s perspectives were explored through further consultations with the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI). Furthermore, a visit was made to the ZRA Customs and Excise Training Academy in Lusaka, which provided an opportunity to introduce the WCO’s e-learning suite and organizational, human resource and leadership management development programmes.

The mission resulted in a comprehensive assessment of positive trade facilitation developments in Zambia, along with identification of current needs and challenges related to capacity building and technical assistance, which will be consolidated into a multi-year Mercator Implementation plan in keeping with the tailor-made track approach. This support will be aligned, and delivered in concert with other development partners to the great extent possible, leveraging the respective strengths of all partners in the trade facilitation space. In parallel to the WCO’s support through the Mercator Programme, Zambia will also benefit from the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees.  The WCO looks forward to implementing a collaborative multi-year capacity engagement with the ZRA in keeping with the unique approach of the WCO’s Mercator programme.