24-25 September 2018, Honiara, Solomon Islands
At the invitation of Ms. Sarah Wickham, Acting Controller of the Solomon Islands Customs, Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P as a WCO representative, visited the Solomon Islands to have political dialogues with senior government officials to pave the way for joining the WCO. These dialogues were initiated on the occasion of the recent Oceania Customs Organization’s Annual Conference held in Melbourne, Australia, when the WCO delegation headed by Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, had an informal talk with the Solomon Islands Customs delegation (refer to ).
Because the Solomon Islands Customs belongs to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Mr. Igarashi met Mr. Mackeney Dentana, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and handed him Secretary General’s personal letter addressed to the Finance Minister and explained the benefits of the Membership from the perspectives of both technical assistance programs and socio-economic benefits which the Solomon Islands government may enjoy by engaging to the Customs reform and modernization with the WCO’s comprehensive packages, in particular through the enhancement of revenue collection functions along with modernizing Customs clearance regime and human resource development, which was well received. In response to the questions asked by Acting Permanent Secretary, Mr. Igarashi explained briefly the process of acceding to the CCC Convention and the payment of annual subscription or membership fee. Acting Permanent Secretary kindly promised to convey the WCO’s warm message to the Finance Minister at the earliest opportunity. Mr. Igarashi also met Mr. William Soaki, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and echoed keen interests of the Solomon Customs to become the WCO Member, and gave some explanations on the accession process to the CCC Convention and the payment of the annual member fee. He also spoke to Deputy Secretary about the benefits of Customs modernization in a broader context. Deputy Secretary promised to expedite the accession process, i.e. cabinet approval, as soon as the Finance Minister give them the instruction to move forward.
In the margin of the above meetings, Mr. Igarashi had a friendly talks with Customs executives and middle-class managers at the Customhouse and he told them the need for ownership and change of mid-set towards reform and modernization as well as professional integrity. Mr. Igarashi also met representatives of Chamber of Commerce, Port Authority, JICA, Bio Security agency, Customs Brokers Association, and explained the need for concerted efforts for modernizing import and export process, including improving port logistics and other agencies business process, so that the costs for the cross-border transaction may be reduced and the business may enjoy due economic gains. They are all supportive for the Solomon Islands Customs’ commitment for changes, along with the Customs’ determination to become the WCO Member. They also asked the WCO to provide them with chances to hear about international good practices and consultation dialogues for improving their business models.
The ROCB A/P looks forward to good news from Honiara very soon. For more information, please write to us at .