LRA celebrates “milestone”

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LRA celebrates “milestone”
LRA celebrates “milestone”

Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has registered a breakthrough in trade and customs harmonization efforts. LRA Acting Commissioner General Obed ‘Nete said the Authority has realized yet another
“milestone” in trade and customs in the country. This he said during the launch of eCustoms Tariff in Maseru on Friday last week. “The nexus between
trade and customs is key in creating a favorable and positive environment for the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
It is no longer an option but an imperative for us all to coordinate and align [the] implementation of initiatives in line with the Agreement. Collaborative cooperation plays a catalytic role in individual success,” ‘Nete said.
He said this platform will enable them to realize innovation in the border processes. The Acting Commissioner General further said this development is poised to enhance compliance of trade, while also reducing the delays at the borders and improving the effectiveness of processes, saying it will further improve Lesotho’s ranking in doing business due to the broad Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilitation and compliance. ‘Nete added that this will improve the benefits of this platform and eventually attract the requisite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the country. “Recent and current geopolitical tensions, inflationary pressures, and strict health and safety protocols against COVID-19, are among challenges [that] in our view are a catalyst for digitalization. As we navigate these and other challenges, trade remains an integral part of the survival and success of Lesotho’s economy,he said.
Meanwhile, Lesotho is said to be the third country in Africa to introduce this technological advancement for cross-border trade. On behalf of the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Deputy Principal Secretary (DPS) Tšireletso Mojela said the importance of eCustoms cannot be overemphasized, adding that it is therefore expected that there would be enhancements in trade for the “convenience” of the private sector. She said: “Trade plays an interlinked and critical role in creating conditions for economic development across frontiers.
In 2016, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho ratified the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, [and] established the National Trade Facilitation Committee to oversee the implementation of the Agreement.
She thanked the European Union and World Customs Organisation (WCO) for “unwavering support”.
The European Union Program Officer Tomás Pallás Aparisi said this platform will facilitate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He highlighted Lesotho’s feat of realizing this virtual platform into a reality. Aparis said WCO is committed to cooperating with LRA. Connecting virtually to the event, the Secretary-General for the WCO, Dr Kunio Mikuriya congratulated LRA, describing the move as the “transformative initiative to the ease of doing business”.
He said this is also a technological tool to enhance the economic competitiveness of the country.
For international trade, accurate information on [the] classification of quantities and access and other information is critical for the smooth flow of trade information and statistical data,” he said. A representative from the Lesotho Association of Clearing Agents, ‘Manthabiseng Sengoai said this platform is going to “boost” trade facilitation in the country and increaserevenue collection. “Most of us are going to have greater tax compliance with this platform,” she said adding that the platform is user-friendly. Sengoai said as agents they are going to provide “transparent” information to the traders, noting that in the past there were challenges of doubt on the part of the traders. The Authority has said this eTariff platform will undergo modifications for ease of access and usage.

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