Author:Luc De Wulf and José B. Sokol

Bolivia. Morocco. Mozambique. Peru. Philippines. Turkey. Uganda. Ghana. References.


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This volume presents case studies of customs modernization initiatives in eight developing countries: Bolivia, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Peru, the Philippines, Turkey, and Uganda. The purpose of these case studies was to obtain a firsthand view of how these countries undertook customs reforms and to assess their success. The overall lessons learned from these studies are presented in chapter 2 of the Customs Modernization Handbook (World Bank forthcoming), a companion volume that provides policymakers, practitioners, and project managers from development agencies with an overview of the key issues they need to address in preparing and implementing customs modernization initiatives. The audience for the Customs Modernization Handbook is customs officials who are called on to design and implement customs reform and modernization strategies, as well as staff members of the World Bank and of other multilateral and bilateral development agencies who support developing countries in implementing such strategies. All the case studies except for the one on Ghana were prepared using basically the same methodology, which aimed at identifying the origins of the reforms, the main drivers, and the outcomes. The Ghana case study is somewhat different, because it focuses on how the automation of trade and customs processes took the lead in the trade facilitation and customs reform.

The country case studies were prepared by customs experts and consultants who had either participated in the reform processes in the countries reviewed or accumulated significant technical knowledge of customs reform and modernization processes in a worldwide context. The selection of countries aimed to assess initiatives used in different continents in the hope that their unique characteristics would yield interesting insights.

The country case studies were undertaken with a common approach to ensure comprehensiveness and comparability. They targeted five areas of the reform process:

  1. The background of the reform and modernization process, including its economic and institutional context, factors leading to reform decisions, supporters, objectives and design, and financial and technical support

  2. The issues pertinent to the reform process

  3. The reform measures themselves, including legislation; management changes; staff-related questions, such as pay, selection, training, integrity, and corruption; information technology; valuation; experience with preshipment Page 2 inspection; special import regimes; and selectivity in pre-and post-release control

  4. The outcomes, including the effect of reform on fiscal performance, trade facilitation, corruption, staffing and workloads, and conformity with international standards plus, where available, an assessment of quantitative performance indicators and users' reactions

  5. The lessons that each of these reforms contain a judgment about the sustainability of the modernization initiatives

The findings and conclusions of each case study are based primarily on interviews conducted in the field with public sector representatives-mainly customs officials-as well as oversight authorities and private sector representatives, including importers, brokers, carriers, and their professional associations. The findings were at times complemented by further dialogue between the editors and others with valuable insights in relation to reform processes and outcomes.

Interviews were conducted at three levels: (a) with sponsors and originators of the reform process so as to identify the motivating and encouraging actors behind the reform, (b) with customs officials and other officials involved in implementing reform who were in a position to provide details about the reform process and methodology, and (c) with users of customs services who are directly affected by...

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