PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


Efficient customs services can play an important part in monitoring trade related regulations as well as generating substantial amount of revenues.

World Customs Organisation (WCO) says developing countries like Tanzania will achieve higher economic growth rates if customs services are improved to cut down the cost of doing business.

The Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania Ms Sinikka Antila said at the WCO National Policy Dialogue between the government and the private sector last week that efficient working customs authorities are key for facilitating international trade.

“Time and costs associated with crossing borders are a major impediment for integrating countries in international value particularly for the most African countries where easy of doing business remains a challenge in transformation of economies,” he said.

Well integrated customs rules and regulations could provide better ground for tracking down the penetration of fake and counterfeit goods which contribute immensely to killing domestic industries and plunging the nation into heavy losses.

To ensure customs services become of global standards, the Finish government has been supporting customs authorities in the East African Region (EAC) through Trade Mark East Africa, which is 500 million US dollars multi-donor initiative to strengthen regional capacity to trade internationally.

“Finland sees a lot of promise in the future in Africa and in particular EAC is one of the most rapidly growing regions in the world. It can be said that the regional integration is the core of our cooperation in Tanzania programme.”

The EAC protocol on single customs union signed last year is a significant step forward in the region, remarked the ambassador. Finland continues to support African economies to diversify and grow in a way that creates more jobs for the young and rapidly growing population.

For this to be possible, African companies need to be globally competitive and take part in the global value chains. Thus for efficient customs services to spur global trade, business environment and infrastructure need to be improved in order to ease crossing border businesses.

African countries have large domestic market that can be attractive if they manage to integrate their economies.

During the workshop, the world customs body commended the current efforts taken by the East African member states for speeding up the establishment of the Single Custom Territory (SCT) that has an ultimate goal of reducing the cost of doing business across the region.

The WCO Director Mr Erich Kieck said it was important to learn that most business people have been complying with the SCT aimed at removing all trade barriers to create a free movement of goods across the region.

Where customs services are efficient, more investors may flow into the country implying more jobs and revenues.

“There have been remarkable successes of trade facilitation in the EAC and WCO would continue to support the region in bringing trade capacity,” he said, adding that, “It is through a wise investment in putting the necessary infrastructure that will continue lowering down the cost of doing business.”

The Commissioner for Customs and Excise Mr Tiagi Masamaki told participants that the key role of the customs administration was not only revenue collection but also facilitate legitimate trade and enable the private sector to play its role efficiently.

“The WCO assistance in promoting trade through such interventions as the policy dialogue will enhance the country’s economic competitiveness and ultimately improve the quality of life of the people,” he said.

He added that the policy dialogue calls for the continuous coordination and cooperation between the customs administration and private sector as well as the other government institutions involved in the cargo clearance.

Furthermore, the WCO efforts in promoting facilitative trade without compromising security, simplification and harmonization of customs procedures, strengthening capacities of customs administrations can not be overemphasized.

Source: Daily News

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.