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By Ziggy Fikiri Nshimiyimana Participants at the two-day conference and meetings of World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Steering Group have empahasised the significance of a secure environment in enhancing international trade. The meetings are hosted by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) in Kigali. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Stephen MAGERA, the Regional Steering Group Chairperson noted discussions aim at collecting various view points on regional trade among which security is key. He noted the importance of Steering Group in facilitating dialogue on performance of cross border trade. The RSG meeting that commenced on Monday 30th April 2018, precedes the Governing Council Meeting scheduled for 3rd - 4th May 2018, the RSG meeting will work on a number of policy documents including the Regional Strategic Plan. “The Steering Group is a very significant body, this is where we pick all the ideas and submit them to the Council for approval” said Mr Patrick GYAN the WCO Representative. Mr. Musoni William the RRA Commissioner for Customs called upon members to embrace technology to create a seamless flow of things in customs trade. He noted that the key objective Customs service is is to collect Taxes and Duties, but hastened to add that this should be conducted in manner that facilitates cross border trader. Other items on the agenda include a discussion on the role of the WCO, Customs administrations and other Stakeholders in the implementation and monitoring of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and how to promote Gender Equality and diversity in Customs Administrations among others.

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