A high powered delegation from Sierra Leone’s National Revenue Authority are part of the delegates in the country to learn about automation of tax services from the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
The delegation led by Commissioner General M/s Haja Isata Kallah-Kamara, is part of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Single Window Workshop where an E-Learning programme is being inaugurated in Blantyre this week.
An activity under the Mercator Programme, which is partly funded by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the workshop has been jointly organised by WCO and the World Bank.
Kamara said they were advised by the WCO to access technical exposure from MRA regarding migration from ASYCUDA++ to ASYCUDA World.
“We are impressed in Sierra Leone that MRA, a sister revenue institution on the continent, was recognised by the WCO that we should learn from. This is very positive as it means that Malawi is moving in the right direction in Customs operations,” she said.
Officially opening the workshop, MRA Deputy Commissioner General Mrs Roza Mbilizi commended the Sierra Leone’s National Revenue Authority for showing great interest to get more knowledge from MRA.
She then advised workshop participants to acquire enough skills from the workshop to speed-up the implementation process of the National Single Window.
“I am glad that there is full stakeholders’ participation. This shows commitment to have the single window running. As of now the World Bank has identified a contractor who will start work in May. But it is crucial that we all get first hand details from WCO on how beneficial the single window is so and how best we can do it.
“I am grateful to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the WCO and World Bank for organising this workshop as it will strengthen knowledge among the steering committee members,” she said
Speaking earlier, Commissioner Customs and Excise Mr Fatch Valeta said the National Single Window is a crucial tool in Malawi’s drive to achieve sustainable trade facilitation.
He said the single window allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements.
“Therefore, the objective of this workshop is to train the stakeholders involved on legal, operational and governance requirements for the development of the National Single Window,” Mr Valeta said.
The Commissioner Customs said a total of 50 participants are attending of which 35 are stakeholders drawn from the National Single Window Steering Committee and Border Agencies officials who are involved in the clearance chain.
“MRA has contributed 15 officers from major stations, the head office and Modernisation Division. All this is to ensure that there is wide involvement, the workshop has accommodated,” he said.
WCO Facilitator Rajeendra Meena commended Malawi for taking initiative to implement a single window.
He stressed that the facility is beneficial to economies as it quickens lodging and processing of clearing documents, thereby cutting business costs and effectively facilitating trade.
Meena said that such a status boosts government revenue collection and it is also a catalyst for attracting foreign direct investments. BY HENRY MCHAZIME