WCO Secretary General visits Eswatini and advocates further cooperation

09 May 2023

At the invitation of the Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS), WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, visited Mbabane, Eswatini, on 8 May 2023, to review the progress in Customs modernization and meet with political and business leaders.

Dr. Mikuriya had a meeting with the ERS Commissioner General, Mr. Brightwell Nkambule, and his management team to review ERS priorities, explore further avenues for cooperation with the WCO, and the way forward. They identified the reactivation of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) programme, with the assistance of the WCO, both of which would improve the business environment. He also met with the Eswatini Minister of Finance, Mr. Neal Rijkenberg, and the CEO of Business Eswatini, Mr. E. Nathi Dlamini. Both political and business leaders appreciated the progress in Customs’ modernization and the support provided by the WCO.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister of Eswatini, H.E. Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, Secretary General Mikuriya talked about the importance of coordination between border-related government agencies and partnership with business, as well as the importance to promote integrity to strengthen trust among the relevant actors along the trade supply chain, which will enhance connectivity at borders. The Prime Minister expressed his thanks for the capacity building support given by the WCO and also raised the issue of border congestions. Dr. Mikuriya suggested an enhanced collaboration with the relevant parties, using the NCTF and the WCO Time Release Study. He expressed his thanks for the strong political support from the political leaders.

Dr. Mikuriya seized the opportunity to visit Ngwenya Border Post to observe how Customs functions, and he also crossed the border to meet with the South African Revenue Service officers at Oshoek border post. He appreciated that Customs officers at the adjacent border posts of the two countries work together to reduce traffic congestions and facilitate trade.