The meeting aimed at establishing various aspects of the committee including its purposes, functions and objectives, and with the creation of its secretariat. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Five customs administrations from the Indian Ocean region met in Seychelles on Friday to discuss the proposal of setting up of a regional committee and agreed upon the principle.
The meeting was the first one held for the proposed Indian Ocean Islands Customs Committee with representatives from Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles.
Held at the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa, the meeting aimed at establishing various aspects of the committee including its purposes, functions and objectives, and with the creation of its secretariat.
In his opening address, the acting commissioner of the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC), Fred Morel, said the creation of the committee was proposed in November 2022. This was through an international cooperation meeting in which a letter of intent was signed and the idea for a Customs Committee was proposed.
In June 2023, at the last Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) meeting, the Council of Ministers approved the implementation of the Customs Committee and mandated the IOC’s Secretariat to give its support.
The heads of all the five Customs Administrations of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles agreed to the creation of the committee.
“The idea of having such a committee in place is a positive one which will bring with it a wealth of opportunities and benefits in terms of the establishment of a platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas,” said Morel.
He said that “through capacity building and technical assistance, we will be able to support each other to develop the competencies of our officers to improve trade facilitation and to intensify our fight against drug trafficking and other illicit activities posing a threat to our society.”
The main purposes of the committee are to facilitate the implementation of projects of common interest and encourage the coordination of customs good practices to ensure security and facilitate trade. It will also intensify technical cooperation to pool together resources to address the Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (TACB) needs within the region.
The commissioner of Customs in Seychelles, Paul Barrack, said that this committee will also allow customs officers to get training and courses in countries that have the necessary expertise. Additionally, each country will share experiences in areas where they have advanced knowledge and capacity.
The committee’s creation is supported by the IOC as a regional approach is being encouraged to better develop areas such the economy, Blue Economy and maritime security.
“We want to try and encourage more exchanges within the region, where such a partnership will help in many areas, as we do not want to see one country develop, while others are left behind,” added the international cooperation manager of the regional directorate of Reunion, Thierry Sourama.