WCO Mercator Programme Diagnostic Mission to the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) on WTO TFA Implementation

04 December 2018

At the request of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), the WCO conducted a diagnostic support mission on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) from 19- 23 November 2018, in Maseru, Lesotho.  The mission was conducted under the framework of WCO Mercator Program and the financial support of the Government of the United Kingdom through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs under the framework of the extended HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Programme.  The Mercator Programme is designed to support WCO members to successfully implement the provisions of the TFA through the effective application of WCO instruments and tools and by using WCOs extensive network of international customs experts.

The scoping mission included discussions with different units of the LRA as well as other key stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing (MTICM), the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho, the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Lesotho Employers, and the Lesotho Nation Trade Facilitation Committee inter alia.   Through the exchange with different stakeholders, the mission team was able to identify areas where the WCO best could provide forward support and complement national and international supported TFA initiatives. The discussions during the mission covered a wide range of technical issues not limited to but including Risk Management, Post Clearance Audit, Measurement of Release Times, Border Cooperation, crossing cutting areas such as Human Resources, Training and Leadership, as well as areas where the LRA could benchmark against other customs administrations best practices in Africa and elsewhere.

As a result of the mission, a comprehensive assessment was made of the current needs in Lesotho with regards to implementing the TFA. Moreover, forward capacity building and technical assistance support was identified, which will be provided through a multi-year implementation plan in line with the tailor made track approach of the Mercator Programme. To ensure efficient TFA support delivery, this support will be aligned and delivered in collaboration with other development partners, leveraging the respective strengths of all partners. The WCO looks forward to future collaboration with the LRA in implementing this multi-year Mercator plan in keeping with the unique customs to custom partnership