The WCO Supports Malawi and Zambia in Advancing their Customs Systems Interconnectivity

19 十二月 2022

The Swedish-funded “Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization Programme for Sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa” also referred to as Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization Programme (Sida-WCO TFCM Programme), provided support to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to advance  their Customs systems interconnectivity and data exchange project. A five-day workshop was held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 28 November to 2 December 2022. The workshop was attended by 12 officials from both administrations working in departments such as Information Technology, Risk Management, Post Clearance Audit, Customs Operations and Change Management.

MRA and ZRA have undertaken bilateral initiatives to implement the Customs data exchange project in Phase I, which has been piloted since October 2021. The two administrations ambition to implement Phase II of this project, building on the achievements of Phase I. In Phase II, the two administrations aim to implement customs data auto-population and exchange of supporting documents to their customs declarations. As such, the workshop supported the two administrations to align their Phase II project with the WCO Data Model (DM), Globally Networked Customs (GNC) and Unique Consignment Reference (UCR). Delegates shared their experiences and undertook practical exercises on DM and GNC, which enabled them to have a better understanding of Customs data-sharing approaches.

In officially opening the workshop, Mr. Dingani Banda, ZRA Commissioner General, stressed the importance for Zambia as a land-linked country to forge strategic cooperation and interconnectivity with all its neighbouring countries using a standardized approach such as the WCO instruments and tools.  He emphasized the need for the region to adhere to customs interconnectivity in order to achieve the objectives set by the African Union for better movement of goods on the continent, which will contribute to poverty reduction. He also expressed appreciation to the WCO and Sida for their continued support to Zambia and the Southern African region under various capacity building projects and initiatives. He further expressed ZRA’s commitment to these initiatives.

During the five-day working sessions, delegates developed a draft bilateral GNC Utility Block, bearing in mind the ongoing work in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to develop a regional Utility Block. The importance of including Tanzania in the Phase II implementation was also noted, considering the advanced work between MRA and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). This approach will facilitate the smooth implementation of regional transit data exchange.

At the end of the workshop, delegates from both customs administrations agreed to schedule regular meetings to keep both teams informed of progress and to ensure that the advances made during the workshop lead to the expected results.

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