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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Provides Further Grant Support to Afghanistan's Customs Reform

May 25, 2010



WASHINGTON, May 25, 2010 ─ The World Bank today approved a US$50.48 million grant to support the Government of Afghanistan’s efforts to improve the release of legitimate goods in a fair and efficient manner.

The Second Customs Reforms and Trade Facilitation Project (SCRTFP) will help finance costs associated with countrywide computerization of Customs Clearance operations through deployment of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and installation of executive information systems allowing real time monitoring of customs operations. It will also support provision of customs infrastructure at selected crossings and support the development of an adequate regulatory, administrative and institutional framework for Customs.
 
The project builds on the achievements made by the Government of Afghanistan under the World Bank’s existing Emergency Customs Modernization and Trade Facilitation Project (ECMTFP), approved in December 2003. Under ECMTFP, the Afghanistan Customs Department (ACD) has boosted the collection of revenue at the border. Revenues went from some US$50 million in Solar Year (SY) 1382 (2003/4) to over US$434 million in SY1387 (2008/9). In 2009/10, customs revenues increased by about 90 percent, accounting for 34.5 percent of total domestic revenues.
 
“The Government has taken some very encouraging measures to improve revenue collection,” said Nicholas Krafft, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. “More reforms are needed to make further progress, including in areas such as ACD’s internal administration, operational systems, processes and procedures and governance structure. This project will help Customs to play its role in collaborative border management in line with global practice to ensure the release of legitimate goods in a fair and efficient manner.”
 
This project is part of a larger donor effort to reform and modernize Afghan Customs, facilitate trade and support improvements in the Customs governance environment.
 
Note to editors:
ASYCUDA is a computerized Customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures. The system handles manifests and Customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit, and suspense procedures. ASYCUDA generates trade data that can be used for statistical economic analysis. The ASYCUDA software is developed by UNCTAD and it takes into account the international codes and standards developed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), WCO (World Customs Organization) and the United Nations. The system has been installed or is being implemented in over 90 countries.

Media Contacts
In Kabul
Mohammad Rafi Farooq
Tel : (93) 700 212756
rfarooq@worldbank.org
In Washington
Erik Nora
Tel : (202) 458 4735
enora@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2010/420/SAR

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