Customs maladministration in any country contributes to crippling economic development, which has disastrous consequences in terms of national security and public finance. Customs Administration is expected to generate a large share of the total public revenue so as to enable the government to accelerate the economic growth of the country. The extent of international trade, tourism, and foreign direct investments depend to a large extent the customs practices. Facilitation of international trade, which in turn will improve the Balance of Payment situation and economic growth of the country, is considered as one of the primary tasks of the customs administration. If not managed properly, customs administration can be a barrier to trade.
As the world move increasingly toward globalization and trade liberalization, the cost of tolerating an inefficient customs administration will become too large to bear. An impeccable customs administration is inevitable for achieving the customs administration objectives of controlling goods crossing frontiers, collecting taxes and duties, implementing trade policies, combating smuggling and thus enhancing the amount of public revenue collected. However, customs administrations in many countries usually suffer from two serious diseases – corruption and fraud. A number of studies have very well indicated that the losses from customs due to corruption and fraud are in multimillion which, if reversed, could have been used for designing and implementing various development programs.
Realizing the depth of the above mentioned diseases of customs administration, the Government of Ethiopia has decided to revamp the system of customs in the country. With a view of making the customs administration free from corruption and fraud, and making it transparent and revenue- generating, the Government of Ethiopia included it in the Revenue Reform Program of the country. The ultimate objective of the customs reforms is to transform the customs into a service oriented, modern, efficient and revenue-generating organization worthy of existence in the present era. As a part of the reform, the government of Ethiopia has made grass-root level changes in the customs administration and has produced very good results.
Organizational restructuring, replacement of under-qualified staff, computerization of operations are a few steps taken for customs reforms. New systems and procedures have been introduced to increase the operating efficiency. Customs formalities for exports have been simplified and clearance bottlenecks have been considerably reduced. Owing to these and other reforms made in the customs administration, the revenue collection has increased by multimillion, simultaneously with a substantial reduction in corruption and fraud. An obstacle that confronts all the efforts of the customs administration is the lack of trained personnel in the area of customs administration. Though the country has exerted relentless efforts for making the customs administration efficient, it hasn’t been able to reach its target due to the acute shortage of the “right personnel” This is mainly due to the absence of educational and training institutions in the area of customs in Ethiopia. Hence, it has become a necessity to build the capacity of the civil servants in the area of customs administration and management.
As the country is facing acute shortage of customs administrators who are also expected to participate in the customs policy formulation and implementation, a master level program is very essential. In general, the rational for revision of the curriculum is to fit the education standard to the market demand based on feed back from employers and enrolled students. On top of that additional courses were incorporated and existing courses were restated based on the need for development of Knowledge, skills and attitudes of the learners.