The Deputy Commissioner of Custom and Excise at the National Revenue Authority, NRA, Tennyson Bio , who is representing Sierra Leone at a high level engagement in Niamey, Niger has met donor partners and members of the private sector to plead for support in capacity building for custom workers in Sierra Leone in line with the vision of President Julius Maada Bio.
“My administration is asking for both technical and financial assistance for our risk management units to help ensure we reduce the risk associated with the clearance process. We will appreciate exchange programmes to train our officers on modern risk management measures to help improve our operations. We are also looking forward for assistance to help position our valuation unit for a possible take over from the Alic Company,” he said.
Commissioner Bio said that as a member of the World Customs Organization, WCO and a signatory to the World Trade Organization, Sierra Leone Customs department had been working over the years closely with the World Customs Organization in relations to Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation through the Mercator Programme.
He said his administration was fully aware that the WCO Mercator Programme was aimed at assisting governments worldwide to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement effectively in an harmonized manner by using core WCO instruments and tools like the revised Kyoto Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures which included a full range of trade facilitation measures that formed the basis for modern Customs operations.
“Since the launch of the Sierra Leone Mercator Implementation Plan, there has been extensive collaboration between the WCO and Sierra Leone. To date, 12 in-country missions have been delivered under the plan. In addition, the programme has supported Sierra Leone’s participation in several global trade facilitation events, including the WCO Knowledge Academy, the WCO Capacity Building Committee and the First International Forum on National Trade Facilitation Committees,” he said.
He also used the opportunity to call on neighboring Mano River Union countries to continue sharing information on transit operations as that would help to improve on trade facilitation. He said that Sierra Leone would appreciate partners and colleague customs administration as well as the Mercator Programme to assist in training its officers.
Commissioner Bio, who has been very instrumental since his appointment in rebranding the face of the Customs department was also accompanied by the Deputy Director of Finance at NRA, Edwin Francis Elongima Conteh, who is also a committee member for the West and Central Africa Customs Committee on Audit.