On Thursday 11th August, the European Union and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) officially launched a project for Long Term Technical Assistance to the Customs Department at a local resort in Monrovia, according to an LRA press release yesterday.The EU funded project, which has a value of €2.1 million (approximately US$2.3 million), will continue until October 2018.The project will facilitate Liberia’s international and regional trade, generate customs revenue and improve the accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of customs in Liberia. Capacity to tackle smuggling and fraud will be enhanced and the project will support Liberia’s compliance with WTO obligations and the objectives of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement with West Africa. Building on previous support from the European Union for the Customs Department under the then-Ministry of Finance, the current project aims to achieve increased revenue collection nationally, including the establishment of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and pilot upgrade of selected key border posts and reduce smuggling and fraud through strengthened capacity for anti-smuggling, intelligence and investigation and enforcement. The project is also expected attain increased efficiency and enhanced trade facilitation, including reduced average clearance times, through strengthened capacity for management control and for consistent application of laws, regulations and procedures, in particular promotion of voluntary compliance and post clearance audit operations. The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) will be in charge of implementation, supported by four long-term international Customs experts, and several short-term experts. This includes Peter Bennett (Team Leader), Brian Glancy and Bill Eliasson, all of whom were present at the event.Peter Bennett gave a presentation at the launch event outlining the key aspects that will be covered by the project and introducing the Key Expert team. He set out the three main components of the project: Support to the Customs Department Headquarters; Support to the Compliance and EnforcementDivision; and Support to Rural and Urban ports, including the development of a Centre of Excellence at the Freeport of Monrovia. At the event, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, thanked the EU and its taxpayers for their timely support towards the transformation of Customs Administration in Liberia, which includes a Centre of Excellence at the Customs One Stop Shop at the Freeport and the resulting positive impact on doing business. She is looking forward to the successful implementation of the project, which is critical to improving Liberia’s Doing Business, WCO (World Customs Organisation) and other international rankings.European Union Chargé d’Affaires, Mrs. Emma Sundblad, said “The European Union is contributing more than two million dollars to the creation of a Customs Centre of Excellence and the fight against smuggling, because we believe that this will generate much-needed revenue for the Government of Liberia. At the same time, more efficient Customs procedures will make it easier for Liberian and international businesses to trade with each other and to invest in Liberia. We hope that the hands-on approach of the experts will help their Liberian colleagues to put things into practice.”The event was attended by officials of the Government of Liberia, representatives of the private sector, as well as members of the diplomatic corps and donor partners, many of which are actively supporting the LRA.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
12 November 2007South African spirits company Distell won the prestigious V&S Distiller of the Year trophy at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) held in the UK, beating illustrious international rivals such as Diageo, Beam Global and William Grant & Sons.According to a statement issued by the IWSC organisers last week, the award is based on the company’s achievements in the competition, as well as on the range of high-quality spirits in their portfolio.Organisers said the specialist panel of judges believed Distell demonstrated “a dedicated, resolute approach to the highest standards of distilling, blending and bottling”.Distell faced stiff competition, with entries in the spirits categories increasing by 16% in 2007, making the IWSC the largest spirits competition in the UK with close on 1 300 products from 70 different producing countries.“With over 340 whiskies entered from Scotland alone, the shortlist for this trophy ran to 26 companies, and it wasn’t only the large producers who where being considered,” competition director Frances Horder said.Cape Business News reported that Distell’s strong showing was due to the outstanding results achieved by its portfolio, made up of Mainstay, Amarula Cream and brandies from the Klipdrift, Van Ryn, Oude Meester, Richelieu and Nederburg distilleries.Distell’s brandy portfolio won two gold and eight silver medals, as well as four best-of-class ratings, while Amarula Cream was voted best liqueur. The distiller’s Mainstay brand was also voted as best vodka ahead of its Russian, Polish and Finnish competitors, causing some debate, as this is a sugar cane based vodka and base ingredients for vodka are currently the subject of much dispute.“The IWSC is one of the most important industry platforms in the world. To be accorded such an honour is no mean feat,” Distell director of primary production Hennie Heyl told Cape Business News.“It is a reflection of the stringent quality standards we set ourselves and demonstrates the exceptional talent in our midst. While South Africa has to date been internationally better known for its wines, the country is starting to build an impressive reputation for other alcoholic beverages too.”The Stellenbosch-based Distell Group states that it is South Africa’s leading producer and marketer of fine wines, spirits, ciders and ready-to-drinks. The company is listed on the JSE, employs over 4 000 people and has an annual turnover in excess of R6.7-billion.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
The Coca-Cola contour bottle, SouthAfrican style. (Image: Coca-Cola)Janine ErasmusCoca-Cola, the world’s top beverage manufacturer, has opened a state-of-the-art laboratory complex in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. The African Technical Centre is Coca-Cola’s most technologically advanced facility globally, the company says.Built in a year at a cost of R46.6-million (US$6-million) and opened earlier in 2008, the new centre tests Coca-Cola products from 162 bottlers in 56 African countries. Finished products, raw materials and waste are tested every month to ensure African-produced Coca-Cola products consistently keep to the high standard they have already set.The Midrand facility offers analytical and technical support, conducting physical and chemical tests that include temperature, pressure, water quality and acid content. It will have a staff complement of 32 skilled employees, of which 19 will be new jobs.Coca-Cola South Africa president William Egbe said at the opening ceremony that the company’s substantial investment was proof of its belief in South Africa as a place to do business, and was not deterred by the recent power crisis. Egbe added that Coca Cola will use South Africa as the basis for its activities across the continent.Minister of Science and Technology Mosibudi Mangena was also in attendance at the opening ceremony, and said that the centre would help to promote good laboratory practice in South Africa. It would also uplift the African region and contribute valuable skills.“It will also leverage analytical capability, increase employment opportunities, and trigger innovation within the chemical industry,” he said. “We regard the Africa Technical Centre as a good example of your commitment to the upliftment of both industry and our people, leading to higher levels of economic growth and development, particularly through science and technology.According to Mangena, Coca-Cola directly contributes about R8.4-billion ($1.1-billion) to South Africa’s GDP and, directly and indirectly, is responsible for a remarkable 1.4% of the country’s GDP.Coca-Cola vice-president Carletta Ooton added that the company had invested in the most sophisticated analytical equipment available, and would use the laboratory as part of its strategy to build a greater understanding of its ingredients and products, as well as support global innovation and sustainable business values.Coca-Cola will open four other such facilities around the globe. One has already been established in China and the others will open in Mexico, Belgium and the US by the end of 2009.Supporting developing marketsCoca-Cola’s director of global laboratory operations John Ward says the trio of facilities would ensure product quality and support the company’s long-term growth in developing markets. “We need to extend our technical capability throughout those regions at a local level.”Ward said that the company was previously focused mainly on its headquarters in Atlanta, US, and European regional base in Brussels.According to Brandchannel.com, Coca-Cola is South Africa’s most admired brand name, and the leader in overall brand awareness, achieving a rating of 42%. South Africa is the company’s largest market in Africa, outselling by two-and-a-half times the next biggest market Nigeria, and accounting for 40% of the company’s entire African revenue.In 2006 Coca-Cola relocated its Africa region headquarters from Windsor in the UK to Johannesburg, indicating its commitment to its African, and particularly South African, market.A solid reputationCoca-Cola South Africa has been named as the country’s third most reliable company, according to the 2008 Reputation Institute survey, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It came in behind cellular provider Vodacom in the top position, followed by petrol manufacturer Sasol. The margins between the companies were very small, with Vodacom scoring 71.56%, Sasol 71.38% and Coca-Cola SA 71.18%.Coca-Cola in South Africa is manufactured and distributed by Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI), which in turn is part of the SABMiller stable. SABMiller bought out ABI’s minority shareholders in 2004 and delisted the company from the JSE stock exchange. SABMiller then sold ABI to its South African division, the South African Breweries.ABI, which originally listed on the JSE in 1989, and Coca-Cola have worked together under a franchise agreement for three decades, and ABI also distributes, Schweppes, Sparletta and Appletiser products in South Africa, as well as the Nestlé brand Nestea and a range of other juices, energy drinks and flavoured waters.The company operates six manufacturing plants around the South Africa, employing some 3 700 people, and its plants in Durban, Midrand and Pretoria, in particular, are regarded as world-class facilities.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesSouth Africa’s economyHeineken’s R7-billion SA plant SABMiller: global brewing giant Useful linksCoca-Cola South AfricaCoca-ColaSouth African BreweriesAmalgamated BeveragesDepartment of Science and Technology
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