Customs officials from 20 countries are set to prioritise the enhancement of performance measurement to make informed strategic decisions. Recognising the significance of evidence-based performance assessment, delegates gathered in Kigali for a multi-regional workshop on measuring customs performance for strategic decision-making and good governance. It was organised by the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO). ALSO READ: New programme to help ease customs procedures in EAC The workshop which will run from May 29 to June 2 aims to foster knowledge sharing and provide insights into measuring customs efficiency and effectiveness, enabling administrators to optimise decision-making processes. During the opening ceremony at Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali, the Commissioner General of RRA, highlighted the critical objective of the event. He emphasised the workshop’s role in supporting RRA’s development and improvement of an evidence-based national performance measurement system which aims to evaluate the efficiency of customs operations, based on key performance measures such as revenue collection, trade facilitation, enforcement, protection as well as organizational and societal development. Ruganintwali stressed the need for implementing strategies and performance indicators to achieve these objectives. Among the strategies he mentioned were setting trading cooperation targets, automating processes and procedures, simplifying and harmonising procedures, improving service delivery, and enhancing capacity building and employee management. The Commissioner General also expressed gratitude to WCO for their efforts in creating a comprehensive measurement mechanism that caters to the requirements of evidence-based decision-making. ALSO READ: Customs authorities need more capacity – Ngirente The multi-regional workshop was organised under the WCO’s Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernisation programme which is financed by the Government of Sweden in cooperation with the WCO Anti-Corruption and Integrity programme financed by the Norwegian Development Agency and Global Affairs Canada. Maka Khvedelidze, Technical Officer and Lead Performance Measurement Officer at the WCO, highlighted the workshop’s objective of facilitating knowledge sharing among participants regarding national customs practices and the measurement of customs operations’ efficiency and effectiveness. She emphasised the importance of tangible results in driving improvements and expressed hope that the event would serve as a valuable platform for dynamic dialogue, experiential learning, and mutual benefit among colleagues from the region. Khvedelidze also tackled the expected outcomes, stating that customs administrations aim to enhance evidence-based national assessment systems, focusing on the societal benefits customs operations can bring in both the short and long term. Steven Murenzi, Director of the Employee Management Unit at RRA, acknowledged the challenges related to performance management, where some individuals fail to fulfill their responsibilities, leading to ill-defined work processes that ultimately impact institutional productivity. He expressed his desire to learn from others’ experiences during the workshop, seeking opportunities to improve practices collectively. ALSO READ: RRA lauds new customs, tax administration programme George Musujya, a delegate from Tanzania Revenue Authority’s customs department, highlighted his participation in the workshop as an opportunity to learn about strategic measurement issues concerning performance evaluation. He expressed the need for their customs administration to make decisions on evidence-based performance, citing a key challenge they face in Tanzania. Musujya explained that their customs administration lacks critical evidence to accurately identify the root causes of problems, emphasising the importance of understanding and addressing these underlying issues. Musujya further noted that while they have implemented various measures to facilitate trade and streamline the clearance of goods from ports, the effectiveness of the initiatives relies on proper performance measurement. He said that if performance is not adequately monitored and managed, it can lead to complications, particularly in terms of clearance time for goods, which can cause disruptions for importers and other stakeholders.