WCO Capacity Building visit to the youngest country in the world

Capacity Building visit to South Sudan - SARS' representative Fanie Versveld (right).

Capacity Building visit to South Sudan – SARS’ representative Fanie Versveld (right).

End of November to beginning of December 2013, following a request from the then Customs Director-General, a small WCO expert team travelled to South Sudan to undertake a Phase 1 Diagnostic Mission under the auspices of the WCO Columbus Programme. The needs analysis was conducted by a colleague of the WCO Capacity Building Directorate along with an expert from the South African Revenue Service.

South Sudan gained its independence as recently as July 2011 and is still the youngest country in the world. Until recently it was also the newest Member country of the WCO.

It was during the course of the visit that the WCO team learnt that the Customs Director General had been replaced. A meeting was held with the new Director General and after outlining the work of the WCO and the purpose and benefit of its Capacity Building Programme it was agreed that the mission should proceed as planned.

The diagnostic team visited the Customs Headquarter in the capital city of Juba, Juba International Airport and Nimule Border Crossing Point on the border with Uganda. The team had the opportunity to meet and speak with a wide variety of motivated people from within the South Sudan Customs Service and also held informative discussions with a number of key stakeholders from the public sector, trade representatives and donor agencies.

The South Sudan Customs Service is just starting out on the road of Reform and Modernization. The diagnostic team made a series of recommendations that will help them in this regard but also identified some “quick win” activities that will assist them in building organisational confidence and commitment to the whole development process. The WCO looks forward to working with the South Sudan Customs Service again in the near future. Source: WCO


South Sudan: The roles of Commerce and Customs

The newly formed state of South Sudan, demonstrates a painful understanding of trade and customs. Evidently this is the product of political thinking, or poor journalism, or zero understanding of economics and administration. I wonder what Customs role really is?

The Director General of Trade in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Stephen Matatia said that his office is not for collecting tax revenue but only for imposing penalties on those who break the law and order. He said it is the Customs Service staff who have the responsibility of collection revenues. The ministry of Commerce staff are only there to collect the penalties from those traders who break the laws and orders of the land related to trade and commerce. He said their other function is the imposition of laws on prohibited goods.

Staff of ministry of Commerce stationed in Nimule border checkpoint report to headquarters in Juba every 15 days to present comprehensive report on their duties. He said the Ministry is preparing to open more offices in other parts of Greater equatorial and in Greater Upper Nile in the border with Ethiopia.In Western Equatoria, Greater Bahr Ghazal, Unity State, bordering with Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Congo, will need offices,” he declared. Matatia observed that in some countries of Africa a lot of ministries of commerce are being classified together with industry thus they have ministries for industry, commerce, supply and cooperatives. Source: AllAfrica.com