March 9, 2018
On the 9th March 2018, The Project for Capacity Development of South Sudan Customs Services for Introduction of Harmonized System Code (P.I.H.S) held its 5th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The 5th JCC meeting was attended by representatives from JICA South Sudan Office, JICA Project Experts, SSCS counterparts and the director for revenue, South Sudan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
(5th JCC group photo)
"HS code is Coding System for international trading which has six-digit number and identifies 5,205 items. The word, HS is created by World Customs Organization (WCO) and stands for International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity description and Coding System which has been effected in January 1988. As of May 2016, 208 countries are using HS code and they need to write HS code on the declaration form".
At the opening of the 5th JCC, Ms. Tomomi Uchikawa, Senior Representative of JICA South Sudan expressed her sincere appreciation to SSCS for their support, team spirit, dedication and cooperation with JICA in the project implementation despite other challenges affecting South Sudan. She expressed her thankfulness for the successful completion of the first year activities and call for the acceleration of the second year activities for the pilot installation of HS in Juba.
(SR JICA SS giving Opening Speech)
South Sudan Customs Services through the government of the Republic of South Sudan requested the support from the government of Japan for the introduction of Harmonized System. The three years project started on 22 June 2016 with the arrival of JICA experts in Juba. Due to the eruption of the fighting in and around Juba in July 2016, all JICA's experts and staffs were forced to evacuate, which made it difficult to conduct activities in Juba. However, the Project resumed its activities in Uganda in September 2016 through conducting seminars and workshops in Uganda on remote basis by inviting the beneficiaries (SSCS custom officers and Customs Clearing Agents) from South Sudan.
At the start of the project, the project experts conducted a baseline survey seminar to understand the basic level of understanding of HS system code among the Customs Officers and Clearance agents in South Sudan before kick-starting the project. About 30 customs officer and 30 clearance agents attend the seminar on the 3rd and 5th of October 2016 respectively in Gulu Church Hill Hotel, Uganda
(Baseline Survey Exam Clearing Agents and Customs Officers)
Statistics Training at URA office Kampala, Uganda
During the first year of the project owing to dedication and efforts from SSCS, the project has registered a number of good track records after the baseline survey that was followed by the designing phase; overall, 11 training courses were conducted in Kampala & Gulu (Uganda) for custom officers and clearing agents, and about 250 participants in total were trained in relation to relevant topics, such as trade statistics and good classification. The project has also prepared the Harmonized System Guideline for 245 items. This has enable customs officers to obtained hand-on knowledge and the necessary expertise for the introduction of HS Code in South Sudan. With the knowledge acquired through these trainings, the trainees are expected to disseminate their knowledge and experience to their colleagues in South Sudan who did access the JICA trainings through On the Job Training (OJT)
(5th JCC signing of Minutes of Meeting)
The 5th JCC meeting was meant to discuss the work plan and the activities for the 2nd year of the project as well as to prepare for the pilot test of the HS in Juba. The meeting also discussed the progress of the work on digitalized customs tariffs. The meeting concluded with the approval of the monitoring sheet for the activities of the 2nd year of the project. Minutes of the 5th JCC meeting was signed thereafter by representative of South Sudan Customs Service, JICA and JICA experts