Customs urged to revisit Revised Kyoto Convention for efficient service delivery

By Foster Obi

Secretary General of the World Custom Organisation,WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya advised member and non member nations to revisit the Revised Kyoto Convention being the core of the WCO’s Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) and contains a dedicated Specific Annex J5 dealing with the role of Customs in emergency situations and natural disaster relief.

According to him, “ In an international environment marked by a determination to implement the WTO TFA in an expeditious and harmonized manner and the efforts of Customs administrations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the World, the WCO welcomes the fact that the number of Contracting Parties to the RKC continues to grow.

“The WCO Secretary General Mikuriya strongly encourages the rest of the WCO’s Members and non-WCO Members to accede to the RKC as soon as possible, given the convention’s significance for Customs, and above all, to implement its provisions.”

This is even some analysts believe that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) needs to properly study the provisions as they accused of implementing it in the breach than observance.

More so, some clearing agents and importers have also variously accused some NCS officials of insufficient knowledge of tariff classification of imported and exported goods.

During a meeting held in the WCO Headquarters in Brussels to mark the occasion, it was recalled that this international instrument is considered as forming the basis for effective, efficient and modern Customs procedures.

Having entered into force on 3 February 2006, the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) is a WCO legal instrument regarded by the entire international Customs Community as a blueprint for modern Customs procedures in 21st Century, which supports countries’ efforts towards the efficient and harmonious implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that entered into force on 22nd February 2017. With the accession of Maldives, the RKC now has 124 Contracting Parties.

The RKC’s key elements include the application of simplified Customs procedures in a predictable and transparent environment, the optimal use of information technology, the utilization of risk management for efficient Customs control, a strong partnership with the trade and other stakeholders, and a readily accessible system of appeals.

The International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures (as amended), known as the Revised Kyoto Convention is the blueprint for modern and efficient Customs procedures in the 21st century.

The Convention elaborates several key governing principles- chief among these are the principles of transparency and predictability of Customs actions; standardization and simplification of the goods declaration and supporting documents, simplified procedures for authorized persons; maximum use of information technology;  minimum necessary Customs control to ensure compliance with regulations;  use of risk management and audit based controls; coordinated interventions with other border agencies; partnership with the trade.

Pix: Comptroller Nigeria Customs CG, Hammed Ali