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General News of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Source: thestaronline.info

Cameroon Customs DG elected WCO new Vice Chair -WCO Secretary General lauds Cameroon for successful organization of conference

Cameroon’s Director General of Customs, Minette Libom Li Likeng has been elected the new Vice Chair of the World Customs Organisation for the West and Central African region for a mandate of two years. Directors General from the 23 countries of the region gave their confidence to the Cameroon Customs DG at the end of their 19th conference of WCO for the region.

The election of a new Vice Chair of the WCO for the West and Central African region constituted one of the major highlights of the 19th conference. She takes over from Nigerian born Abdullahi Inde Dikko who led the organization for four years.

The new Vice Chair of the WCO, Minette Libom Li Likeng in a chat with the press gave her perception of the challenges that await her in the discharge of her new functions.

“This honour is for the whole of Cameroon and I am very grateful to the Head of State, Paul Biya who put in place reforms for the modernization of the Customs Administration. I am going to manage the way each country (note that there are 23 countries which are members of the WCO in this region), so I am going to put people together so that they can exchange through different experiences. Of course Cameroon is now like a model but while helping the others improve what is done in Cameroon would be a very big challenge. So through me is the whole of Cameroon which has been honoured and I hope that I would succeed.”

The 19th conference of the Directors General of Customs of the WCO ended last Friday in Yaounde with participants expressing satisfaction at the performance of member countries particularly that of Cameroon.

The Directors General commended Cameroon for leading in many domains related to Customs activities. The conference which was centered on the role of Communication Strategies in the Customs Administration was also a forum for participants to seek ways of strengthening economic competitiveness by sharing each other’s experience.

While each country admitted to have made relative progress to modernizing its customs department, D.G. of Customs and some DignitariesCameroon’s expertise in performance management and in cargo transit administration using GPS and satellite was undoubtedly approved by others as a source of reference.

The Yaounde platform also provided an opportunity for many of the participants to reflect on many possible modifications that could bring about significant transformation in the sector.

Cameroon’s success story was also commended by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation, Kunio Mikuriya as he expressed satisfaction at the smooth organization of the 19th conference.

“This regional conference was a great success because first of all we were able to share information especially Customs role in economic competitiveness and quite often Cameroon’s experience was quoted and this has given a lot of inspiration for heads of Customs in this region to emulate and I think that Cameroon is such a good example that the Trade Ministry has incorporated Customs as a central administration for trade facilitation. So in Cameroon, there is a political will and support and already Parliament has adopted. So this is another good model.”

While closing the three day conference, Cameroon’s Finance Minister, Alamine Ousmane Mey, personal representative of Prime Minister Philemon Yang thank the participants for holding a successful 19th conference and lauded the Minette Libom Li Likeng for her election as West and Central Africa WCO Vice Chair.

The three-day conference which was preceded by an expert meeting and saw the participation of 23 Customs Directors General, experts, the Secretary General of the WCO, sub-regional organizations and development partners focused principally on the following: the 12th meeting of expert; the presentation of reports (office of the Vice President, the WCO secretariat, the regional office for capacity building, regional liaison offices in charge of intelligence in West Africa/Central Africa and the Great Lakes); the review of the assessment report of recommendations of the previous Conference of Directors General of Customs; the review of the financial report; the innovative practices on economic competitiveness; discussions on the regional strategy for economic competitiveness; the presentation of experiments measuring performances of customs; presentation and discussion of the evaluation of the strategic plan to reform the region as well as the presentation of the 2014 roadmap; presentation and discussion on inspection companies amongst others.

On the sidelines of the congress, the Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya and the various delegations in Yaoundé met with senior government officials of Cameroon amongst them Prime Minister Philemon Yang.

Another major outcome of the conference was the integration of Equatorial Guinea as the new 181 world member and 24th in the region.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernization. The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.

In 1947, thirteen European countries established a Study Group to examine customs issues identified by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This work led to the adoption in 1950 of the Convention establishing the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), which was signed in Brussels.

On January 26, 1953 the CCC’s inaugural session took place with the participation of 17 founding members. WCO membership subsequently expanded to cover all regions of the globe. In 1994, the organization adopted its current name, the World Customs Organization. Today, WCO members are responsible for customs controls in 179 countries representing more than 98 per cent of all international trade.

The WCO is internationally acknowledged as the global centre of customs expertise and plays a leading role in the discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures. It is responsive to the needs of its members and its strategic environment, and its instruments and best-practice approaches are recognized as the basis for sound customs administration throughout the world.

The WCO’s primary objective is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations, thereby assisting them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo are the 23 members of WCO West and Central Africa region.

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