The WCO completed its 3-phase programme to build Togo’s capacity in Customs valuation control of imports

27 November 2018

The Customs and Indirect Taxation Office (CDDI) of the Togo Revenue Authority (Office Togolais des Recettes - OTR) continues to work on bringing the Customs functions that had been outsourced, including the Customs valuation of imported goods, back in-house.  It had asked for the WCO’s technical assistance in assessing and building its capacities in the area of Customs valuation control of imports.

The first two phases of this technical assistance mission took place from 16 to 20 November 2015 and from 17 to 21 May 2016.  These consisted of a diagnostic mission on the infrastructure needed for the work in this area of Customs responsibility and training for trainers and experts on Customs valuation, respectively.

To follow up on the request from the OTR General Commissioner’s office, which wanted to see these first two activities completed during phases I and II of the technical assistance mission to the CDDI, two experts from the WCO Secretariat conducted a national Workshop on the implementation of a system for the control of imports involving the use of an electronic Customs valuation database, which was to serve as a risk assessment tool.  This Workshop, which came within phase III of the technical assistance mission, took place in Lomé from 12 to 16 November 2018.  It received funding from the WCO’s own fund.

This Workshop, in which the experts from the OTR played an active role, was an opportunity to give specific consideration to determining the most appropriate Customs valuation control system to be set up, having regard to the specific realities of Togo’s external trade.  It was recognized that the end of the outsourcing of the Customs valuation function and the requirement to apply the valuation rules set out in the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement, in an environment marked by a low level of compliance with current regulations by economic operators, was a particularly topical matter for the CDDI.  Nevertheless, the Workshop participants also recognized that there was a way to ensure that this dual decision that had to be taken did not result in losses of Customs revenue.

It is with that aim that the experts conducting the mission came up with a series of suitable recommendations, which, when implemented, will ensure that the OTR’s CDDI succeeds in bringing the function of Customs valuation of imports back in-house.  These recommendations, presented to the OTR General Commissioner at a debriefing session held on the final day of the mission, could supplement the Customs valuation component of the Action Plan implemented to bring the outsourced Customs functions back in-house.

This programme represented a new model of WCO capacity building in which tailor-made assistance is provided in several phases with strong commitment from the recipient administration.