Customs administration reform and modernisation in Eritrea

Measho, Dawit Mehreteab (2003-12)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis offers a descriptive study of the empirical customs issues that are required to reform the Eritrean Customs Administration towards its alignment to the global situation. The first chapter as a general introduction encompasses the background, the research premise and the methodology adopted. The second chapter discusses public service reform by putting emphasis on institutional and regulatory reform as framework of analysis. The intention is to review the generic characteristics of public service reform as macro-environment of customs administration in order to analyze the attributes of the general context shared by customs as a public service. Considering customs as a component of the broader environment of public service, the third chapter of the thesis focuses on the contemporary body of knowledge of customs administration that serves as a conceptual framework and micro-analysis of customs. In this section, the core issues and priorities of customs' service modernisation are highlighted; customs' best practices, standards and procedures as seen from the perspective ofthe new challenges of globalisation are also reviewed. From these reviews chapter three underlies two basic facts. First it is justified that raising customs' operation to a uniform, high standard procedure and achieving excellence in the customs service is a prerequisite for trade and tourism in general and promoting export in particular. Second, investment decisions will be made on the basis of a country's ability to provide an environment that is conducive to maintain a reliable, low-cost flow of goods and components with minimal trade barriers. Furthermore, the international trade, social and economic environments are in fact changing. World economies and communities are becoming more reliant on cooperation, partnerships, understanding and harmonisation. Factors such as growth in trade volume and tourism, trade liberalisation and investment, falling transport and communications costs and increasing international competition are driving customs administrations world-wide to change their traditional procedures. More importantly, customs administrations are expected to manage ever-increasing complexities and levels of transactions with static or ever-decreasing resources. Similarly, customs are requested to strike and maintain the right balance between control and facilitation. Hence, this thesis builds on the premise that Eritrea should align its customs administration to the global situation as an essential institution of national and international policy by reforming and modernising its management methods and operational procedures. In the above idea, while reform measures in customs administration are aimed at identifying alternative ways and means of achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in the service delivery, customs modernisation implies the change in or adoption of best management practices, standards and procedures facilitated by up-to-date information technology, in order to bring the fun benefits of customs as contributor to economic growth in Eritrea. This positive correlation between effective customs administration and the economic growth ensured - inter alia through increased volume of trade and tourist flows as wen as direct foreign investment - constitutes the bases for reviewing the Eritrean economic background in the fourth chapter, as a macro-context and as a guide for the required reform and modernisation measures in Eritrean customs. The rationale is that any national public sector reform strategy is unlikely to succeed unless it actively takes into account the macro-environment as determinant factor and point of departure in deciding the type of policies, institutions, and resources required for a reform at micro-level. As a result it can be said that the state reforms that have already been carried out in Eritrea are designed to create a favourable atmosphere, among others for the three core potentials for economic growth in Eritrea, namely investment, export and tourism. However, these potentials collectively request customs modernisation for their positive contribution to the Eritrean economy. Subsequently, the aforementioned background brings into perspective the need for reform and modernisation measures in the face of the challenges of globalisation and in line to the intent of the macro-policy reforms and identified potentials of the Eritrean economy. Therefore, the thesis analyzes in the fifth chapter the customs practice in Eritrea. And thereafter, it is concluded by the two underpinning parameters as essentials for transforming the practice of customs in Eritrea. First, institutional transformation is required in the sense that one of the critical capabilities that have lacked is the ability to formulate and analyse policies. Typically this implies that customs has been lacking institutions and their infrastructure along with the human resource base that reflects the specialisation that is needed. Second, regulatory transformation is required in the sense that there should be an updated enabling environment in place as an instrument to implement policies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie tesis word verslag gedoen oor 'n deskriptiewe navorsingstudie ten opsigte van die empiriese doeane-kwessies wat nodig is om die Eritrese doeane-administrasie te hervorm ten einde dit in lyn te bring met die situasie wêreldwyd. Om dit te kan doen, word die hervorming van die staatsdiens in die tweede hoofstuk bespreek en word klem gelê op institusionele en regulatoriese hervorming as raamwerk vir die analise. Die bedoeling is om 'n oorsig te verkry van die generiese kenmerke van staatsdienshervorming as makro-omgewing van doeaneadministrasie ten einde die eienskappe te analiseer van die algemene konteks wat deur doeane, as staatsdiens, gedeel word. In die derde hoofstuk van hierdie tesis word aan doeane as komponent van die groter omgewing van die staatsdiens aandag gegee, en word daar ook op die kontemporêre kennisgeheel van doeane-administrasie wat as konseptueie raamwerk en mikro-analise van doeane dien, gefokus. In hierdie afdeling word die kernvraagstukke en prioriteite ten opsigte van die modernisering van die doeanediens belig. Doeane se beste praktyke, standaarde en prosedures, soos gesien vanuit die perspektief van die nuwe uitdagings van globalisering, word ook in oënskou geneem. Volgens hierdie oorwegings is daar twee feite grondliggend aan Hoofstuk 3. Eerstens is dit verantwoordbaar dat verbetering van die werkswyse van die doeane tot 'n uniforme, hoëstandaardprosedure en die bereiking van uitmuntendheid in die doeanediens 'n voorvereiste is vir handel en toerisme in die algemeen en vir die bevordering van uitvoer in die besonder. Tweedens sal beleggingsbesluite geneem word op die basis van 'n land se vermoë om 'n omgewing te verskaf wat bevorderlik is vir die instandhouding van 'n betroubare laekostevloei van goedere en komponente met 'n minimum handelsbeperkinge. Verder is internasionale handel sowel as die sosiale en ekonomiese omgewings besig om te verander. Wêreldekonomieë en -gemeenskappe raak al meer afhanklik van samewerking, vennootskappe, begrip en harmoniëring. Faktore soos die groei in handelsvolume en toerisme, handelsbevryding en belegging, dalende vervoer- en kommunikasiekoste en toenemende internasionale mededinging dwing doeane-administrasies wêreldwyd om hulle tradisionele prosedures te verander. Belangriker selfs is dat daar van doeane-administrasie verwag word om steeds toenemende kompleksiteite en transaksievlakke met statiese en geleidelik kwynende hulpbronne te behartig. Insgelyks word van doeane verlang om die regte balans tussen beheer en fasilitering te verkry en te handhaaf. Hierdie tesis bou dus op die premis dat Eritrea as 'n essensiële instelling van nasionale en internasionale belang sy doeane-administrasie op een lyn moet bring met die situasie wêreldwyd deur hervorming en modernisering van die bestuursmetodes en operasionele prosedures. In die bostaande gedagte impliseer modernisering van doeane die verandering in of aanpassing van bestebestuurspraktyke, standaarde en prosedures gefasiliteer deur byderwetse tegnologie, alhoewel hervormingsmaatreëls in doeane-administrasie op identifisering van alternatiewe middele tot groter doeltreffendheid en doelmatigheid ten opsigte van die dienslewering gemik is om daardeur die volle voordeel van die doeane se bydrae tot die ekonomiese groei in Eritrea te verwesenlik. In die vierde hoofstuk maak die positiewe korrelasie tussen effektiewe doeane-administrasie en ekonomiese groei, wat onder andere deur verhoogde volume "in die handels- en toeristevloei sowel as direkte buitelandse belegging verseker is, die basis uit vir hersiening van die Eritrese ekonomiese agtergrond. Hierdeur word 'n makrokonteks verkry om as gids te dien vir die vereiste maatreëls vir hervorming en modernisering in die Eritrese doeane. Die beredenering hiervoor is dat dit onwaarskynlik is dat enige nasionale openbaresektorstrategie sal slaag tensy dit die makro-omgewing, as deurslaggewende faktor en vertrekpunt in die besluit ten opsigte van beleide, instellings en hulpbronne wat benodig word vir hervorming op mikrovlak, daadwerklik in gedagte hou. As gevolg hiervan kan gesê word dat staatshervorming wat reeds in Eritrea teweeggebring is, ontwerp is om 'n gunstige atmosfeer te skep, onder andere vir die drie kemmoontlikhede vir ekonomiese groei in Eritrea, naamlik belegging, uitvoer en toerisme. Gesamentlik vereis hierdie moontlikhede egter modernisering van die doeane indien hulle 'n positiewe bydrae tot die Eritrese ekonomie wil maak. Die voorafgaande agtergrond bring dus nou die behoefte aan maatreëls vir hervorming en modernisering in perspektief, met die oog op die uitdagings van globalisering en gevolglik die bedoeling van die makro-beleidshervormings en geïdentifiseerde moontlikhede vir die Eritrese ekonomie. Daarom analiseer hierdie tesis in die vyfde hoofstuk die doeanepraktyk in Eritrea. Daarna word die verslag afgesluit deur die twee stawende parameters as grondtrekke vir hervorming van die doeane-praktyk in Eritrea. Institusionele hervorming is eerstens nodig in die sin dat een van die kritieke bevoegdhede wat tot dusver ontbreek het, die vermoë is om beleide te formuleer en analiseer. Dit impliseer duidelik dat dit die doeane tot dusver ontbreek het aan instellings en hulle infrastruktuur tesame met die menslikehulpbronbasis wat die vereiste spesialisering weerspieël. Tweedens word regulatoriese transformasie benodig in die sin dat daar 'n bygewerkte bemagtigende omgewing moet wees as 'n instrument om hierdie beleide te implementeer.

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