Cape Town, 26 January 2018 – Customs organisations around the world today honoured the men and women who protect our borders and help facilitate trade. Every year International Customs Day (ICD) is held on January 26 which is the day the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) held its inaugural session in 1953.
The theme for International Customs Day (ICD) 2018, which is chosen by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), is “A Secure business environment for economic development”.
The South African Revenue Service hosted its leg of the programme at the newly refurbished State Warehouse in Cape Town, with Commissioner, Tom Moyane, delivering the keynote address.
“The theme this year is intended to highlight the need for all of us to ensure an environment that enables businesses, as engines of the economy, to better participate in and benefit from international trade,” said the Commissioner.
“Customs can contribute to an enabling environment by ensuring stability, predictability, streamlining procedures, tackling corruption, enhancing integrity and ensuring facilitation of movement.”
“Customs can contribute to a safe environment by doing what is required of it to ensure a secure supply chain, enhancing its capacity to interdict illicit and harmful trade and countering activities such as the illicit funding of crime and terror through trade.”
“And Customs can contribute to a fair and sustainable environment by being consistent and tackling activities such as intellectual property infringements, smuggling to avoid payment of duties and the deliberate misdeclaration of the value and origin of goods,” he said.
He added that the organisation would strive to ensure that they continue to be recognised as a world-class Customs service and that they contribute to improving South Africa’s trade and economic competiveness. Measures such as the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index already recognised South Africa’s effectiveness in this regard, and SARS would seek to improve on this, he said.
“I believe that this will be achieved through our efforts in improving service, quality management, investing in our people, developing our leadership and partnering with our stakeholders.”
He added: “As the executive leadership of SARS, we celebrate the WCO and embrace its theme. We will continue to advance the objective of creating an enabling and safe environment for businesses to benefit from international trade.
Customs and Excise Chief Officer, Jed Michaletos, spoke on the introduction of the new Customs legislation through the New Customs Acts Programme (NCAP), saying it was by far the biggest project in SARS right now, with the roadmap for its implementation extending all the way until 2025. “Once the new Acts are implemented, they will fundamentally change the way we do business in SARS.”
He also explained that the refurbishment of the Cape Town State Warehouse – which was the first of several in the country – formed part of Customs’ overall strategic priorities for the year. He said they were very proud of some of the changes they had introduced, including tighter security processes and a new in-house upgraded information management system that would be able to track all goods coming in and out of the warehouse.
“This will enable us to deal decisively with illegal and counterfeit goods, which contribute to the illicit economy and loss of revenue to the state.”
*The CCC adopted the working name, World Customs Organisation (WCO) in 1994. Each year, the day is celebrated around a theme selected by the WCO Secretariat and communicated to all 180 WCO Members.
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