It is with great honor that I take the helm of ACD. My goal is to transform ACD, one of the most important government agencies in Afghanistan, into a model of excellence in public service. ACD’s daily tasks of facilitating trade and generating revenue translate into a better quality of life for Afghan citizens. With such an important outcome at stake, ACD has no other option but excellence.
I intend to work with ACD staff at headquarters and in the regions to implement reforms that will align Afghanistan with modern customs administrations across the world. The first such endeavor is E-Pay, the electronic payment of customs duties. Under E-Pay, ACD is ensuring traders across Afghanistan can pay customs duties electronically at any commercial bank, rather than only with cash at the customs site clearing their goods. E-Pay facilitates trade, increases security, reduces opportunities for corruption, and helps ACD comply with international best practices.
ACD is embarking on other important reforms, including proper implementation of risk management to focus inspection on high-risk goods and enablequicker trade for compliant traders and low-risk goods; post clearance audits to help ensure companies comply with ACD procedures; and proper valuation methods to support appropriate revenue collection.
In addition to revamping procedures and systems, ACD will work to ensure staff are thoroughly trained and adhere to standards of professional conduct. The Afghanistan National Customs and Revenue Academy will build the capacity of customs officials and bring new recruits up to speed. In addition, ACD will develop oversight structures that monitor staff for compliance and investigate cases of misconduct. ACD will also implement a hotline allowing the public and customs officials to anonymously report possible incidents of corruption or smuggling.
Trade is a driving force of Afghanistan. I am firmly committed to creating a trade-friendly environment that will further Afghanistan’s development, and ACD will directly contribute to this goal. Customs duties and taxes account for almost 50 percent of revenue for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This money goes toward paying for Afghanistan’s schools, its hospitals, and its roads. ACD, with partners such as USAID, the World Bank, and the United Nations, will work diligently on new advancements that facilitate business, improve lives, and contribute to the health and stability of Afghanistan.