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Regional Workshop On East African Customs, Tax Code Opens Next Week

The EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), under its Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme for Customs, is organizing a five-day workshop at the Palace Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

The workshop, which is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) will be running from 15th to 19th July, 2019.

Participants will be discussing and assess the progress on the implementation of EAC integrity instruments in each Partner State, and revival of efforts to institute and inculcate integrity and ethics among Customs and other Government officials.

Among those who have been invited to attend the workshop will be attended by officers from national integrity and anti-corruption agencies, Customs administrations officials as well as officers from the integrity programmes at the Revenue Authority level, WCO officials, Private Sector representatives and African Union Advisory Board on Corruption.

The EAC Customs and Tax Code of Ethics and Conduct, and the EAC Integrity Action Plan are regional instruments that were adopted in 2014, and applied by Customs administrations in all the EAC Partner States. It is premised on international standards, particularly on the WCO Model Code of Ethics and Conduct and the Revised Arusha Declaration.

The EAC Code of Ethics and Conduct sets the requirements of conduct for Customs and Tax Officials within the Community in the course of carrying out their functions. The overall purpose of the Code of Ethics and Conduct is to guide the behaviour and conduct of EAC Customs and Tax Officials and foster integrity. The action plan provides guidance on what an integrity programme should consist and how it should be successfully implemented.

Corruption affects the legitimacy of border agencies, including Customs administrations, and severely limitS their capacity to accomplish their mission of protection, revenue collection and trade facilitation. Corruption also compromises compliance to border security measures, making border areas and border crossing points vulnerable to trafficking and other cross border threats.

The EAC Partner States have undertaken substantial reforms to modernize Customs in order to facilitate trade. In this regard, and to raise awareness on the impact of corruption, the Secretariat published the EAC Regional Customs and Tax Code of Ethics and Conduct, copies of which have been distributed to Partner States and Stakeholders. Posters bearing anti-corruption messages have also been developed to create awareness.

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