Effort to Help Afghanistan Collect Customs Revenue Found Lacking

Armored vehicles patrol a customs check point in Khowst province in 2009. Armored vehicles patrol a customs check point in Khowst province in 2009. Dima Gavrysh/AP file photo

The ongoing U.S. effort to leave war-torn Afghanistan self-sufficient depends in part on the Kabul government’s ability to collect customs revenue, a dual federal agency project that could benefit from clear performance metrics, auditors found.

Contracts let by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection “have achieved some positive results” but rely on “questionable customs data,” according to a report released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. “The drawdown of coalition forces and systemic corruption will likely hinder development of customs revenue as a sustainable source of funds.”

Customs revenue collections accounted for $698 million to $1.1 billion annually for the Afghanistan government over the past three fiscal years, SIGAR reported. The Defense Department has projected that revenue will rise “if border management improves and the various Afghan government entities responsible for implementing reforms to customs legislation, regulation and procedures improve their organizational operations and reduce corruption.”

Since 2009, USAID and CBP have spent $198 million, including an $83.8 million contract with Chemonics Inc. to administer a trade facilitation regime for Afghanistan, which includes developing and reforming laws, policies and customs processes around the county, SIGAR noted.

After reviewing the contracts and other documents and visiting key sites, auditors recommended that the CBP attaché in Afghanistan develop clear performance metrics and submit them to Defense central command for incorporation into future contracts and task orders. It also recommended that USAID reduce inconsistencies in customs data and count anti-corruption measures and their impact as performance metrics.

CPB agreed with the recommendation, and USAID partially agreed, commenting that “while USAID has considered SIGAR's recommendation to include in the contract a performance requirement relating to statistical discrepancies, USAID finds it impossible to do so because the discrepancies in customs data are often driven by factors outside the control of the project.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.