Customs Automation

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Customs Automation



It all began in 1995 when a group of COMESA Delegates came to Ethiopia to introduce ASYCUDA ver 2.7 to Higher Customs Officials.

The group,which was headed by the former ex- Ethiopian customs commissioner Mr. Zewede Demisse, had made a 4 days visit at HQ and Introduced the ASYCUDA system on personal computer . The delegate had also made a valuable meeting with pertinent customs management. Officials In 1996, after hectic discussion and evaluation, had officially accepted the ASYCUDA system to solve the deep rooted problems that hinders the movement of Import and Export goods clearance and a bottleneck for collection of revenue.

The project document was signed in June 1996 both by UNCTAD and Ethiopian Customs Authority . The project duration was for a period of 2 years. The project was financed by UNDP and Monitored by MOFED.

In general, apart from collecting duties and taxes, .the Automation System has brought many changes to the organization working environment

Brief History of ASYCUDA V - 2.7 in Chronological Order

  1. 1995 - a group of COMESA delegates arrived in Addis Ababa and made demonstration on Asycuda System.
  2. 1995 - The same year customs top management discussed the matter thoroughly and the Revenue Board also intervened on the matter and finally decided to accept the ASYCUDA system by ignoring the In-house system development proposal.
  3. March 1996 - The customs Automation Project Office was opened officially:
    • Mr. kelemework Belay was appointed as a project manager
    • Two experts (one from functional and another from technical side were appointed as a project member.) 
  4. Aug. 1996 - The group went to Malta to study the ASYCUDA System and stayed for one month in Swatar training center .
  5. Sep. 1996 - The first UNCTAD Computer Advisor (Mr Denis Berger) arrived in Addis Ababa.
  6. Oct. 1996 - additional two national experts joined the project office .
  7. Nov,. 1996 - The UNCTAD Customs Advisor(Mr Jelal Abas Mohammed) arrived in Addis and joined the team.
  8. Members of the project had worked for two years and made a parallel test At la gare on Dec. 1997.
  9. April 1998 Ato Arega Hailu Tefera was appointed as the project Manager replacing Mr Kelemework belay .
  10. July 1998 - Live operation took place at La gare
  11. Oct. 1998 - Live operation launched. at Addis Ababa Air port
  12. Oct. 1998 - Nazareth
  13. July. 1999 - Dire Dawa
  14. Jan. 2000 - Djibouti
  15. April. 2000 - Kombolcha
  16. May. 2000 - A.A Passengers section
  17. June. 2000 - Moyale, launched live operation respectively.

In general, 8 sites were automated. However, out of these 8 sites the major two sites (AAA and AAL) were the only stations connected to the central server using the wide area network environment .The rest customs stations were perform their tasks independently [using Local Area Network]. The project was phased out in 2001.

Though the project has come to an end, on the other hand the volume of import and export of goods increasing every year. In order to cop up with the current trade activity and need of the business community , The Ethiopian. customs requires an advanced system which helps to minimize the limitation of Asycuda ver . 2.7 and meets the current demand of its customers and stakeholders .

Therefore, the need to up grade V. 2.7 has become a compulsory task for the customs Authority.

The need to migrate from ASYCUDA V - 2.7 to ASYCUDA ++ System

It is obvious that before Asycuda system was introduced in Ethiopia the collection of Duties and tax Assessments have been performed manually using Desk calculators. On the other hand, the annual external trade statistics was not up to date, usually lag 2 years behind the current year. Revenue collection was done by manual Receipt which was really time taking and cumbersome. However, after the introduction of Asycuda the above problems were highly reduced.

Limitations of Asycuda V.2.7

  • Asyuda V. 27 was based on DOS environment File based system and the data was stored in ASCII Format.
  • Queries are fixed and integrated with the system.
  • Does not include selectivity programs
  • Limited Report facilities
  • Post-Entry of a declaration produced a new number and the report will have a date fallacy.

Therefore, In order to meet the current world trade facilitation demand the authority decided to up grade the current system and move to more advanced system which is known as ASYCUDA++.

ASYCUDA++ is a product of UNCTAD, based on the client server structure form and supported by ORACLE Data base.

The current technology:
The broad band service which includes the Wireless Telephone, leased Line, V-SAT etc have helped and brought many significant changes to the environment of the non governmental organizations and to the business community as a whole. Taking all these in to account the Eth. Customs Authority has decided to Implement the Asycuda++ soft ware at the clearance offices and remote checking points which are located far from the Head Quarter.

Features of ASYCUDA ++

  • Client - Server base architecture;
  • Includes - Selectivity - Risk Assessment module ;
  • Direct Trader Input (Register the customs declaration from the declarant premises;
  • Skilled users can unite their own query from any ORACLE support application soft ware;
  • A++ application software run on Linux operating system software and supported by ORACLE DATA BASE;
  • 90 Reports are integrated with the system and user can also develop their own report using UDR facility;(User Defined Reports)
  • Post-Entry of a declaration does not produce a new number.

Objectives of the A++ Project

  • Developing updating and building the ASYCUDA++ control files
  • System studio test at HQ.(proto type)
  • conducting training for final users
  • Parallel test at pilot site.
  • launch live operation

As per the above objectivies the task was begun in Jan/2004 and completed in July/2004.However due to delay in equipment delivery (main server and work stations) The parallel test was done in the first week of august and finally the pilot site went to live operation in Aug 23/2004.

Pilot site Achievements

  • The declaration process became simple and different kinds of reports were available both from the pre installed report format and by SQL request.
  • The limitation which was seen in V.27 totally solved in A++ system.
  • For the first time in Ethiopian customs history of Automation Direct trader Input (DTI) was practically implemented by the prominent clearing Agent MTSE who Invest a huge amount of money to Implement the ASYCUDA Brokers module (MODBRK).
  • This remarkable achievement gave a paramount satisfaction for the national and foreign experts to continue the roll out program with full enthusiasm .

Rollout to Addis Ababa La gare

The Addis Ababa La gare customs is one of the biggest Dry ports where most of the declaration formalities are processed and marks about 87% of the total revenue collected by the customs authority. Asycuda++ Roll out took place here in the month of NOV/2004.

  • In this station: The network Infrastructure
  • The tele line installation
  • The bureau DTI formation

Was done effectively As per the action plan endorsed at the beginning of the project the first phase of the ASYCUDA++ system implementation program was effectively completed before the end of year 2004.

Rollout to other stations

After the pilot program was completed, it was the national experts and the customs management who took the major responsibility to fasten the Roll Out of A++ system in to other Customs stations.

Subject to budget and manpower constraints, the authority has planed to automate 10 customs sites with in the budget year 2005.

However, Due to tele. infrastructures problem and other constraints the implementation could not be done in all customs stations.Nevertheless, the following customs stations were fully automated, before the end of year 2005.

  1. Addis ababa Parcel post office
  2. Nazrath customs office
  3. combolcha customs office
  4. Dire Dawa lagar customs office
  5. Dire Dawa Airport customs office
  6. Jijiga customs office
  7. Addis Ababa passenger customs office
  8. Mekele customs customs office

In the year 2006 the Authority has also planned to Automate the remaining customs clearance office including 3 checking points. For this final program UNDP has allocated 240,000 USD apart form the previous budget.

The main activites during the 2006 Budget year

  1. More equipments were purchased including 2 big capacity servers
  2. The authority has also allocated more than one million Birr budget to purchase a V-SAT (Virtual small aperture terminal) satellite service from tele communication Authority for remote customs sites.

Starting from January up to October/2006 the project office has completed the installation of network and client software loading on each site. Up on the completion of the project, The following customs stations were benefited from the automation system.

  • Gonder customs office
  • Metema ""
  • Bhardar ""
  • mille ""
  • Galafiy ""
  • Dewele ""
  • Togowucale ""
  • Awash ""

finally, before the end of year 2006 the project office has automated 19 customs clearance office and the remaining one site (Humera) was lagged behind the schedule. we hope that this station will be automated soon after the necessary refurbishment for the office is completed. (Humera Customs office launched live operation in Jun/2007)

General Achievements ( out put of the project )

  1. The goods clearance time is reduced significantly;
  2. Different type of reports were available to all customs station with no time limit;
  3. All customs stations are linked to central server and enjoy standard procedure and tariff rate produced from the system;
  4. Cash collection is as fast as a double click;
  5. The working environment was enhanced and workers were aware of Automation and internet facility was available every where;
  6. Import and export trade statistics was available timely and Data quality control was possible and checked monthly ;
  7. More than 32 declarants were registered and benefited form the A++ DTI facility;
  8. Clearance time for goods in transit reduced to 2 hours ;
  9. More than 128 report formats are available for end users;
  10. Selectivity program was implemented both at AAA and AAL;
  11. Export transit operation was started in all pertinent customs offices and boarder; checking is practically started both at Glaphi, Dewele, and Moyale.


The project office was financially supported by UNDP for the pilot project and Roll Out program a total of 3,672,880.68 Birr was released to our account and 497.991.78 Birr was paid to beneficiaries by direct payment request method. as per our finical Report of Dec/2006 only 16933.23 Birr was remained in our account. This shows that we have used the allocated budget effectively and efficiently.


For the last 3 solid years the national experts have trained both the functional and technical part of the Asycuda System for more than 170 customs officials and ASYCUDA awareness was given for more than 500 declarants . The training was effective because the officers and the declarants have been doing their task effectively and the system supervisors at each stations were also played a significant role in maintaining the system .

Members of the ASYCUDA ++ Project office


  1. Mekonnen Gebeyehu ... Project coordinator ( Upto sep/2005)
  2. Kassech G/medihn.......... technical
  3. Fikre Ayele ............... ...."" ""
  4. Solomon Fekade.............."" ""
  5. Mengistab tekelu ........... functional
  6. Elias K/mariam...............functional and project coordinator(Since Sep/2005)
  7. Tigistu yigletu ....................functional


  1. Jacluline EDP - stayed 4 months
  2. Mukupa -chongo... customs stayed one year
  3. Rodrigo crespo ...EDP- stayed 1-1/4 months

Special Appearance

  1. Jack 15 days - two times
  2. Chandu sing One month - two times

Steering committee Head – Ato Damtew Demisse later replaced by Bogale Negash
Driving committee Head – Fiteha Negest G/medhine

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