EU, Liberia Revenue Authority Launch Project To Support Customs Department

Published by Front Page Africa
On 15 August 2016 saa 02:15
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Monrovia - On Thursday 11th August, the European Union and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) officially launched a project for Long Term Technical Assistance to the Customs Department at the Cape Hotel in Mamba Point.

The EU funded project, which has a value of EUR 2.1 million (approx. USD 2.3 million), will continue until October 2018.

The project will facilitate Liberia’s international and regional trade, generate customs revenue and improve the accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of customs in Liberia.

Capacity to tackle smuggling and fraud will be enhanced and the project will support Liberia’s compliance with WTO obligations and the objectives of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement with West Africa.

The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) will be in charge of implementation, supported by four long-term international Customs experts, and several short-term experts. This includes Peter Bennett (Team Leader), Brian Glancy and Bill Eliasson, all of whom were present at the event.

Peter Bennett gave a presentation at the launch event outlining the key aspects that will be covered by the project and introducing the Key Expert team. He set out the three main components of the project:

Support to the Customs Department Headquarters; Support to the Compliance and Enforcement Division; and Support to Rural and Urban ports, including the development of a Centre of Excellence at the Freeport of Monrovia. At the event, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, thanked the EU and its taxpayers for their timely support towards the transformation of Customs Administration in Liberia, which includes a Centre of Excellence at the Customs One Stop Shop at the Freeport and the resulting positive impact on doing business.

She is looking forward to the successful implementation of the project which is critical to improving Liberia’s Doing Business, WCO (World Customs Organisation) and other international rankings. European Union Chargé d’Affaires Mrs Emma Sundblad said "The European Union is contributing more than two million dollars to the creation of a Customs Centre of Excellence and the fight against smuggling, because we believe that this will generate much-needed revenue for the Government of Liberia.

At the same time, more efficient Customs procedures will make it easier for Liberian and international businesses to trade with each other and to invest in Liberia. We hope that the hands-on approach of the experts will help their Liberian colleagues to put things into practice." The event was further attended by officials of the Government of Liberia, representatives of the private sector, and members of the diplomatic corps and donor partners, many of which are actively supporting the LRA.

Background Information:

1. This project builds on previous support from the European Union for the Customs Department under the then-Ministry of Finance. The expected results of the current project are:

- Increased revenue collection nationally, including the establishment of a ’Centre of Excellence’ and pilot upgrade of selected key border posts;

- Reduced smuggling and fraud through strengthened capacity for anti-smuggling, intelligence and investigation and enforcement;

- Increased efficiency and enhanced trade facilitation, including reduced average clearance times, through strengthened capacity for management control and for consistent application of laws, regulations and procedures, in particular promotion of voluntary compliance and post clearance audit operations. 2. The LRA was established in 2013 as a semi-autonomous agency of the Government of the Republic of Liberia. It commenced operations on 1 July 2014.

The primary objective of the LRA is to administer and enforce the revenue laws in accordance with the Liberian Revenue Code, for the purpose of assessing, collecting, auditing and accounting for all national revenues and to facilitate legitimate international trade and customs border management-enforcement. More information

3. The European Union (EU) is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of nearly 60 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders. 4. The Delegation of the European Union to Liberia is responsible for managing official relations between the EU and Liberia, including development cooperation.

EU development aid to Liberia is mainly provided through the European Development Fund (EDF). For 2014-2020, the National Indicative Programme (NIP), which has been developed and agreed with the Liberian Government, allocates €279m of EU funding to support good governance, energy, education and agriculture.

The EU has also been assisting in the country’s recovery from the Ebola crisis.

For further information go to: More | More 5. Ecorys is a leading research and consultancy firm, with over 85 years’ experience in more than 100 countries worldwide. Ecorys International Development Unit recently won the 2016 British Expertise Award for Outstanding Leadership in International Development. More information