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

10 noviembre 2020

As part of its ongoing support to members, the WCO concluded a virtual Mercator Stocktaking & Forward Planning mission from 12 to 30 October 2020 for the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA). The mission was aimed to firstly map the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the August 2019 Lesotho Mercator Implementation Plan, and secondly to identify areas for forward capacity building support. The mission was led by two Mercator Programme Advisors – respectively from Botswana Unified Revenue Services and the United States Border Protection. The support took place under the framework of the by the United Kingdom supported, Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme which constitutes a partnership between the WCO, 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 (TFA).  

Through consultations with various units within LRA – e.g. Customs officers in charge of Procedures, Project Management and Human Resources – as well as by engaging with private sector representatives and the National Committee on Trade Facilitation, the mission team was able to garner an understanding on the progress made in terms of trade facilitation implementation. The team also took note of support provided by the WCO and other developing partners and focused on identifying potential technical assistance that can be provided going forward, particularly in the context of the HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Programme. In light of the current COVID-19 travel and social distancing constraints, most notably areas that would render suitable for technical assistance and capacity building on a remote basis and/or with a blended approach were considered. As such, it was also noted that the WCO had already started the review of the air cargo clearance and release process at the Moshoeshoe International Airport, an exercise that is deemed very timely to mitigate the expected influx of air cargo shipments in the COVID-era.

The outcomes of the discussions and observations will be concluded in a multiyear Revised Mercator Implementation Plan for Lesotho. The WCO looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the LRA within the context of the Mercator approach and with support of the HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Programme.

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