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EU, Lithuania and Palestine celebrated the achievement of the first ever Twinning Project

EU, Lithuania and Palestine celebrated the achievement of the first ever Twinning Project

The European Union, the Customs Department , the State Board Guard Service and Central Project Management Agency of Lithuania, the Palestinian Ministry of Finance and the General Administration of Borders and Crossings celebrates the end of the Twinning project in Palestine.  The project aimed to strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal position through enhancing customs revenue collection and border management.

The project established new and modern tools and working methodologies in line with international standards and EU practices to improve Custom duties collection on imported goods that represent an important source of income for Palestine. These achievements came amid the challenging circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the project, partners from Lithuania and the Palestinian Authority worked together to apply working methodologies related to Customs Law, Post Clearance Audit and Control on imported goods, export and import formalities, prevention of economic crimes at the borders and combating corruption. The Central Project Management Agency was responsible for administrative-financial management of the EU Twinning project and worked with all Twinning partners and The Office of the European Union Representative.

The project also enhanced collaboration among border agencies. This would allow Palestinians to go through simplified control processes at the borders. It will also facilitate trade and reduce evasion of customs duties. These results are becoming achievable after the project was successful in developing the One Stop Service that offers new coordination mechanisms.

The Director General of the General Administration of Borders & Crossings Nazmi Mhanna thanked the Lithuanian partners, the Palestinian stakeholders and the European Union for their extensive efforts and support to make this project a success. This project has achieved very important outputs in relation to the models and procedures that were suggested to help in protecting national revenues, facilitating trade, enhancing the efficiency of crossings, in addition to exchanging experiences and knowledge among the various teams.

The General Directorate of Customs, Excises and VAT Luai Hanash said; we consider the achievements of the twinning project as the starting point for Palestinian Customs to work based on the results and outputs of this project. There were lessons learned in spite of the challenges and difficult circumstances, in particular, the transfer of knowledge and experience remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, with the persistence and commitment of the Lithuanian and Palestinian teams, they managed together to achieve the project results and to develop the capacities and functions of the Palestinian customs in relation to post clearance audit, risk management, customs disputes, combating corruption and enhancing integrity, in addition to contributing to amendments to the Palestinian Customs Law.

The Deputy Director General of Customs Department Vygantas Paigozinas emphasized on the joint work of the Lithuanian and Palestinian experts as well as the involvement of the Palestinian Authorities whose decisions may be a critical success factor for the intended changes to take place were the key elements leading to the long-term impact of the project results. I do believe that everything we did within this Twinning project as well as everything we do while performing our daily duties it will be valued by our authorities and most importantly by the society as well

The European Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff said during the ceremony: “Today’s project is an example of a successful partnership that brought together the EU, an EU Member State, Lithuania, and the Palestinian Authority to ultimately support Palestinians in their quest for statehood. This project was a result of good cooperation and peer-to-peer support among European and Palestinian public administrations. For Palestine Twinning is a key component to support state-building activities, while it is equally important for the EU and Member States to maintain the viability of the two-State solution. The results achieved so far are crucial for Palestinians to improve customs revenue, which is essential for meeting the fiscal obligations of the Palestinian government as well as for achieving growth and development in Palestine”.  

Background:

The Twinning project ‘Strengthening the Capacity of the Palestinian Authority to Improve Customs Revenue Collection and Border Crossings Control’ started on 19 May 2019 for duration of 24 months with a total allocated budget of EUR 2 million. The project was implemented by the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance of Lithuania, the State Border Guard Service at the Ministry of Interior of Lithuania and Central Project Management Agency. The project targeted two Palestinian public administrations, the General Directorate of Customs, Excises and Value Added Tax under the Ministry of Finance and the General Administration of Borders and Crossings (GABC).

The main objective of the Twinning project was to improve the Palestinian Authority (PA) fiscal position through improving collection of customs revenue and strengthening borders control in order to reduce evasion of customs duties. The will be achieved through; 1) Enhancing the GABC capacity to conduct effective controls of goods and 2) Strengthening the Palestinian Customs capacity to improve customs collection and implement post clearance audit procedures in accordance with international standards.

For more Information:

Contacts: 

The Office of the European Union Representative 

Shadi Othman (02 5415 867, 0599 673 958); Inas Abu Shirbi (02 541 5 859, 0599 673 957)

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/palestine

General Administration of Borders and Crossings

Iyad Salameh, tel. +972597434845, email: iyadsalameh67@hotmail.com  

General Directorate of Customs, Excises and VAT within the Ministry of Finance

Fadi Abubaker, tel. +972-2-2978741, email:  f.h.abubaker@gmail.com

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