Rwanda has been ranked as a role model in integrity, according to Lars Karlson, director capacity building, World Customs Organisation (WCO).
He said this during a three-day meeting of the East African Community customs directors at Kigali Serene Hotel recently. The meeting was called to map-out strategies to facilitate trade in the region.
"We consider the progress big and we hope the case of Rwanda can be a role model in other countries," said Karlson, while quoting the recent Diagnostic Study carried out by the WCO.
WCO Diagnostic Study is a management tool designed to assist customs senior managers to make a self-assessment of the state of their organisation and to plan for modernisation.
A special feature of the Diagnostic Study process is that it provides for an analysis of not only the functioning of the customs but also the environment in which it operates including its stakeholders’ expectations. The stakeholders include the public, trade operators, other government departments and banks.
The customs officials recommended that social protection, accurate provision of statistical data and effective trade management were crucial, if doing business in EAC is to be eased.
In her opening remarks, Mary Baine, commissioner general RRA said the EAC programme on trade facilitation comes at a time when the body she heads has started treating taxpayers/customers as ‘kings’.
RRA has established single window for investors, introduced import incentives like pre-clearance and pre-payment to quicken the clearing of goods from customs.
She further explained that the government of Rwanda is supporting a private sector reconfiguration programme in order to have a more organised private sector that provides quality services.
It was revealed that in the diagnostic studies under Columbus programme, Customs administrations are facing a stiff challenge of facilitating trade without compromising revenue.