WCO successfully delivers diagnostic assessment of the Afghan Customs Department

12 October 2016

Following a request from the Afghan Customs Department (ACD), Ministry of Finance, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the WCO successfully delivered a diagnostic assessment of the ACD at the WCO’s Regional Office for Capacity Building in Baku, Azerbaijan, in keeping with the WCO’s Diagnostic Framework. The diagnostic, which took place between 19 and 29 September, 2016, was delivered within the context of Afghanistan’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the resultant commitments that Afghanistan will need to fulfill in relation to the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

The workshop was opened by Mr. Ahmad Reshad Popal, Director General and included 24 senior management and operational officials from different units of the ACD, who actively contributed to a conversation which enabled a comprehensive exploration of questions related to strategic management, governance, human and material resources, Customs processes and procedures, external partnerships and use of information technology. The resulting diagnostic report will provide the basis for the ACD’s senior management to initiate reforms, including those related to the implementation of the WTO TFA, and it will allow for the identification of priority areas where the WCO’s unique package of global standards, instruments and tools, along with its Customs-to-Customs network of experts could contribute effectively to these reform and modernization efforts.

The mission resulted in a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of the ACD, including perspectives on the extent to which the country meets the provisions of the WTO TFA, along with a series of priority recommendations to drive a modernization agenda. In support of effective donor coordination, the diagnostic assessment and recommendations were developed in close collaboration with the Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Continued close collaboration with the ATAR project will support more effective coordination of capacity building inputs, while also helping to manage the complex logistics of future in-country engagements.

The diagnostic took place within the framework of the HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD TFA Capacity Building Programme with the generous financial and technical support of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of the United Kingdom. The WCO would also like to express its thanks to the New Zealand Customs Service and United States Customs and Border Protection for their critical technical inputs into the diagnostic.