The Secretary General (SG) of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, paid a courtesy call on the Head of State, Obed Moses Tallis and Prime Minister (PM), Charlot Salwai, as part of his first visit to Vanuatu yesterday.

SG Mikuriya is accompanied by the new head of the WCO Asia/Pacific Office for Capacity Building, Norikazu Kuramoto.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Ralph Regenvanu, and the staff from the Department of Customs and Foreign Affairs welcomed them upon arrival at the Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila.

Part of the purpose of the SG’s visit is to deepen understanding on the customs environment in Vanuatu and how WCO can help best implement solutions to address the challenges and changes facing customs.

PM Salwai shared some of the challenges Vanuatu is facing in relation to custom administration, partly revenue related aspects.

The WCO SG assured the PM of the organisation’s commitment to support Vanuatu custom administration improve business.

Today (Thursday), SG Mikuriya and Mr Kuramoto will visit the Single Window Project Office at Colardeau and listen to a presentation from the project manager.

Vanuatu is the Pacific region to implement the Single Window Project, an online software system for evaluation and management of import and export certificates, license and permits.

From the Single Window Project Office, they will visit the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue headquarter and the Public Service Commission (PSC) before departing for Santo in the afternoon.

They will meet with the Minister of Finance and Economic Management (MoFEM), Gaetan Pikioune, and the Director General, August Letlet, upon arrival on Santo.

They will visit the World War Two Museum the next day and the Traditional Water Music Show performed by the women of Banks Island at Showground area before a ground breaking ceremony.

SG Mikuriya and Mr Kuramoto will return to Port Vila on Friday for departure.

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