MRA's ICC Centre is part of a major development plan in the airport area, says Prime Minister

MRA's ICC Centre is part of a major development plan in the airport area, says Prime Minister

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The Integrated Customs Clearance Centre (ICCC), a state-of-the-art building of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) housing several border agencies under one roof, was inaugurated, today, by the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, in the presence of several Ministers and eminent personalities, in Plaine Magnien.

The inauguration of the ICCC coincided with the International Customs Day 2022, celebrated each year on 26 January. The event was also marked by the unveiling of the inaugural plaque of the ICCC by the Prime Minister and the launch of a magazine entitled MRA: Positioned to meet challenges ahead.

In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the inauguration of the ICCC marked a major milestone in the facilitation of trade in Mauritius, by reducing the cost of doing business. “The ICCC,” he stated, “is part of a major development plan in the airport area, including the setting up of a Cargo Village and the extension of the Freeport zone.”

 He indicated that the ICCC would act as a one-stop shop comprising several ministries and departments involved in the clearance of goods, in line with the World Customs Organisation’s Coordinated Border Management. “The Customs Centre will also facilitate trade, reduce the downtime of goods, and contribute to the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering,” he added.

“Since 2006, the MRA,” he said, “has come forth with innovative successes in terms of tax collection and trade facilitation as well as its contribution to the Consolidated Fund.” Prime Minister Jugnauth dwelt on the role of the MRA and its ability to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the Organisation had efficiently harnessed the power of digitalisation through internet-based customs management system.

“The MRA Customs Department,” he indicated, “has an integral role in protecting the citizens from illicit drugs and practices as well as in making society a safer place.” “The Department,” he added, “has effectively detected smuggled and prohibited goods and has made unprecedented seizures of different types of drugs and psychotropic substances amounting to more than Rs 5 billion during the last five years.”

“Government,” he stressed, “will continue to provide its unwavering support to the MRA to acquire the latest tools and technology to further boost the fight against trafficking of illicit drugs and narcotics.”

 With regard to this year’s theme for International Customs Day 2022, ‘Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by embracing data culture and build a data ecosystem’, the Prime Minister highlighted that it was an opportunity for the Customs Community to engage in discussions about moving towards a fully digital environment. “There is also a need to create an operational model that captures and exploits data from across trade ecosystems,” he added.

“The MRA Customs Department,” he said, “is working on a major digital and trade facilitation project, the Integrated Single Window System, that will benefit the trade community, reduce loss of time and costs of doing business as well as enable the single submission of documents for processing of permits and clearance of goods.”

Prime Minister Jugnauth lauded the contribution of Customs Officers in making the MRA a world class organisation and urged the Organisation to continue responding actively and innovatively.

For his part, the Director-General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, stated that the vision of the MRA was to become a world class revenue authority, providing quality tax services and improving the ease of doing business. He also highlighted key achievements of the organisation, adding that it would continue to spearhead digital transformations for better service delivery.

As for the Director of the Customs Department, Mr Vivekanand Ramburun, he spoke of the various projects of the MRA in the pipeline namely: E-Duty Free certificate for motor vehicles; E-Courier to reduce paper works for imports and exports; the setting up of the Central Control Room to monitor sea port activities; and the installation of whole-body scanners at the airport.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.