News / Economy

Falling Customs Revenue Worries African Countries

FILE - A Congolese policewoman and customs officials secure the gate barriers at their border crossing point with Rwanda in Goma town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 29, 2013.
FILE - A Congolese policewoman and customs officials secure the gate barriers at their border crossing point with Rwanda in Goma town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 29, 2013.
— Officials from Francophone Africa say plummeting customs revenue could lead to severe financial difficulties and slow development.  Cross-border trade and the usual taxes it generates have taken a serious hit because of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, Boko Haram activities in Nigeria,and the persistent crisis in the Central African Republic.  

The drop in customs revenue, caused by conflict, piracy and terrorism, is a growing problem for governments across West and Central Africa.
 
At a meeting this week in Yaounde, organized by the Global Forum on Transparency, officials said the Central African Republic has lost nearly all of the $6 million is usually receives from customs dues.  

They said other countries in the region, such as Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Chad, and Sudan, have lost up to 40 percent of their customs revenue.

Some of the loss stems from an increase in illegal or undocumented trade; some of it comes from a loss in trade across borders, as violence makes travel dangerous or difficult.

Epeh Nkongho, who works in surveillance for Cameroon's customs agency, says governments need to take action or face the loss in revenue and a failure to meet development goals.

"You will hear of threats coming from terrorists acts [groups] like Boko Haram.  We know of the maritime pirates.  We must make sure that we control our borders to make sure that all this illicit trade does not happen," said Nkongho.

He says customs officers need to be empowered to be able to face their new challenges.

"It is really not a matter of arms, it is a matter of intelligence.  We need to carry on cooperation with the other forces of defense to have information on how they [terrorists] operate.  Even though we have the arms, that is not the tactic or the strategy to counter some of this crimes," he said.

Cameroon Finance Minister Alamine Ousman Mey says customs departments in Africa should work together to stop terrorist movements from harming their economies.

He says it is important to improve surveillance, strategic information sharing and transparency and track down those who decide to disrespect laws and adds that it should be done in a transparent manner.

The most serious problem raised during this week's meeting in Yaounde is the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.  Data from the International Maritime Bureau shows about 1,000 seafarers and fishermen were attacked by pirates armed with guns or knives in the gulf last year.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.