The World Customs Organisation-Eastern and Southern Africa regional steering group has expressed optimism that harmonising customs procedures in the region will enhance trade by lessening barriers.

Several countries in the eastern and southern African region are currently pursuing initiatives towards the harmonisation of all customs procedures, especially members of the COMESA Customs Union.

Speaking on the sidelines of a plenary meeting which brought together regional countries, Chairman of the WCO-ESA steering group, Mr. Luximan Babajee said with the current thrust on inter-regional and intra-regional trade, member states stand to benefit immensely from harmonised customs procedures.

Some of the major problems that have been affecting customs operations in African countries include too much documentary requirements, outdated official procedures, insufficient use of automated systems as well as lack of cooperation among customs and other governmental agencies.

The formulation of the international harmonised system goods classification and will power shown by countries in implementing technical aspects of trade agreements is however widely expected to eliminate factors hampering efficient customs systems.