WCO delivers a virtual Mercator Stocktaking mission to the benefit of the Eswatini Revenue Authority

20 August 2020

As part of its ongoing support to members, the WCO concluded a virtual Mercator Stocktaking and Forward Planning mission from 29 July to 6 August 2020 for the Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA). The purpose of this mission was to follow up on the progress made in implementing recommendations identified in the August 2018 Mercator Implementation Plan for Eswatini and to identify needs for forwarding capacity building support. The mission was conducted under the framework of the United Kingdom’s supported Trade Facilitation Programme which constitutes a partnership with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and UNCTAD to support developing and least developed countries in the implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. 

This constitutes the second virtual Stocktaking mission in the WCO’s history after the successful remote mission with Zambia Revenue Authority was concluded a few weeks ago. Similar to the Zambia mission, the Eswatini mission was facilitated by a Mercator Programme Advisor (MPA) from HMRC.

Through consultations with various units within SRA, including Border Operations, the Project Management Unit and Human Resources as well as by engaging private sector representatives through ‘Business Eswatini’, the mission team took note of the trade facilitation progress made by SRA since 2018 and successes achieved while focusing discussions on priorities for enhancement going forward. Notable achievements during the period were the implementation of the eTariff supported with technical assistance from the WCO and finalization of the soon to be launched Eswatini Trade Portal.

The SRA Commissioner-General identified the mission as very time – noting the SRA is currently finalizing the development of its Strategic Plan while also addressing the new challenges presented by COVID-19 constraints. The outcomes of the conversations will be concluded in a multiyear Revised Mercator Implementation Plan for Eswatini. In addition, in the context of the HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Trade Facilitation Programme, particular consideration was given to those areas that the WCO could potentially support SRA on in the coming two years under the Programme’s Framework. In this context, also considering areas that would render suitable for technical assistance and capacity building on a remote basis and/or with a blended approach.

The WCO looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the SRA within the context of the Mercator Programme.

For more information contact capacitybuilding@wcoomd.org.