Comoros keen on accelerating Customs modernization

07 二月 2013

The Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, visited Comoros from 7-9 February 2013 to support Customs modernization underway in the country, at the invitation of the Director General of Customs, Ali Hamissi Moussa Mohamed. The Union of the Comoros comprises three autonomous islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Presidency of the Union is held on a rotating basis between the three islands.

After arriving in Moroni, the capital of Comoros, Secretary General Mikuriya travelled to the autonomous island of Anjouan to meet the political leaders of the Union. The President, H.E. Dr. Ikililou Dhoinine, referred to the importance of Customs and to areas that needed to be focused on, namely enhanced use of information technology, undervaluation, the combating of illicit trade (including fake medicines), drug trafficking and corruption.

The Secretary General commended Comoros on its accession to the WCO Harmonized System (HS) Convention earlier this year as a sign of its integration into the global trading and Customs system. He encouraged early accession to the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) in order to simplify Customs procedures with the support of information technology, which would also serve to enhance connectivity and to tackle corruption.

Given that Comoros Customs had installed ASYCUDA, Secretary General Mikuriya asked for political support in extending it to economic operators, in order to maximize its potential and to linking it to banks so that duties could be paid by bank transfer rather than in cash. He also offered the WCO's tools and programmes to address the concerns of the President, as well as assistance in planning for continuing Customs modernization.

Mohamed Ali Soilihi, the Vice-President in charge of the Ministry of Finance and Budget organized a working dinner for the WCO delegation, inviting the President of the Comoros Parliament and several ministers to discuss a wide range of Customs-related issues, including human resource development.

Back in Moroni, the Secretary General had a meeting with the Resident Representative of the United Nations and then with representatives of the private sector at the Union of Chambers of Commerce of Industry and Agriculture. Economic operators appreciated the dialogue session as a means to improve understanding and work towards a partnership based on transparency and trust between Customs and business.

Governor Mouigni Baraka Said Soilihi of the autonomous island of Ngazidja (the main island of Grand Comoros), who was the head of Moroni Port Customs before being elected to his current post, also organized a dinner for the WCO delegation, inviting Customs managers and representatives of the local and international communities.

Secretary General Mikuriya also met with the Comoros press where he had the opportunity to set out the activities and objectives of the WCO and how these related to Comoros Customs.

Finally, he visited Moroni Port Customs to observe their operations and their preparations for implementing the HS. He also discussed the way forward with the Director General of Customs who envisaged the revision of the Customs Code in line with the RKC and in preparation for the country's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).