The European Union and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) have jointly launched a project value EUR2.1 million or approximately US$2.3 million for Long Term Technical Assistance to the Customs Department within the LRA up to October 2018.
An EU-funded project, the formal launch was executed on Thursday, 11 August at Cape Hotel in the diplomatic community of Mamba Point, Monrovia. It will facilitate Liberia’s international and regional trade, generate customs revenue and improve accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of customs here.
A joint press release issued in Monrovia yesterday, says capacity to tackle smuggling and fraud will be enhanced, including support to Liberia’s compliance with the World Trade Organization or WTO obligations and EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement with West Africa.
The LRA’s Customs Department will implement the project, support by four long-term international customs experts, including Peter Bennett (Team Leader), Brian Glancy and Bill Eliasson and several short-term experts, all of whom were present at the occasion.
In a presentation, Mr. Bennett outlined three key components of the project as 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.
According to the release, LRA Commissioner General Madam 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.
Commissioner Tamba said she looks forward to the successful implementation of the project which si critical to improving Liberia’s Doing Business, World Customs Organization and other international rankings.
EU Charge` d’Affaires Mrs Emma Sundblad notes, “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.”
However, she said more efficient Customs procedures will make it easier for Liberian and international businesses to trade with each other and to invest in Liberia, saying “We hope that the hands-on approach of the experts will help their Liberian colleagues to put things into practice.”