Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) continues to work with the WCO building capacity to align with the TFA and facilitate trade

01 April 2022

With a view to further strengthen its relationship with the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and support capacity building on trade facilitation initiatives, the WCO conducted a mission in Lesotho from 21-23 March 2022 under the aegis of the by the United Kingdom supported HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme. Objective of the mission was to take stock of progress made while also looking ahead at areas for possible further enhancement and WCO collaboration in the coming years. Within the framework of the Mercator Programme, the LRA has been receiving technical assistance in organisational development and selected WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) measures through different phases of the HMRC Programme. This included, for example, support on Competency-Based Human Resource Management. Recognising that ‘human capital’ underpins the success of effective reforms, going forward this remains a key priority area for LRA as part of its ongoing reorganisation. In TFA related measures, support has also been provided on e.g. Post Clearance Audit, Data Analytics (in collaboration with the by Korea supported BACUDA programme), and implementation of the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines. Moreover, LRA is also strengthening its engagement in the WCO Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN) as part of a comprehensive approach towards risk management.

During the high level executive meeting, LRA Commissioner General, Mr. Thabo David Khasipe,   expressed his appreciation to the WCO and the United Kingdom for the technical assistance and capacity building support extended. Formally accepting the offer made by the WCO to continue capacity building support under the Programme’s next phase ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ (2022-2025), the Commissioner-General said: “We are very keen to continue this strategic alliance with the WCO and HMRC since we know the benefits that such collaboration would evolve into”. Future WCO support will initially primarily have a continuity-based approach, building on the remote support rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring its in-country validation, consolidation and sustainability.

One key focus of the mission was to review the progress made in the implementation of the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines at the Maseru International Airport. Following WCO capacity building, the air cargo clearance process has been re-engineered incorporating elements of the Immediate Release Guidelines and provisions of TFA Measure 7.8 on Expedited Shipments. Moreover, LRA has initiated an automated tool named ACaDes (Air Cargo Declaration System) which allows for electronic submission of the cargo manifest from Air Link – enabling fast clearance for de-minimis shipments with pre-clearance for other courier cargo. Electronic submission of air cargo manifests is considered to be a vital enabler in progressing towards a digital clearance environment. The tool has already been tested and stakeholders trained with the aim to be launched in April 2022.      

The WCO is looking forward to its further partnership with LRA during the next phase of the HMRC Programme “Accelerate Trade Facilitation” that will start in April 2022. See for more information on ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ Programme here.