Customs excise department Mauritius | Free essay | Management essays

CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY.

  • To study the process of training and development in place at the Customs and Excise department (Mauritius) by gathering and analyzing data.
  • To highlight its strengths and weaknesses.
  • To provide some recommendations in the light of the findings where Training and Development can be improved to contribute effectively toward achieving the objectives of the Customs Department.

Training

All kind of people will at some point or need training. This is because overtime organizations change techniques, equipment, and knowledge change and people change. Whether they are executives, managers, supervisors or secretaries, technical specialists, production workers, scientists, artists, doctors, lawyers, instructors, security guards, clerks, sales persons or custodial workers, all at some time will need to know new information, acquire new skills, and develop new attitudes to successfully master the changes in their work environment.

(Carolyn Nilson 1990)

If competitive success is achieved through people, then the skills of those people are critical. Consequently, one of the most obvious implications of the changing basis of competitive success is the growing importance of having a work force with adequate skills. Historical studies show that between 1929 and 1982, education prior to work accounted for 26% of the growth in the productive capacity of the United States, with learning on the job contributing to an additional 55%.It seems clear that “learning in schools and learning on the job are by far the most important factors behind economic growth and productivity in this century, and will determine the nation’s economic prospects in the next.”(Competitive Advantage Through people by Jeffrey Pfeffer p.17)

More businesses are seeking to improve their performance by focusing on improving the asset under their nose; their people. Companies must come up with a scheme that provides planned approach to setting and communicating business objectives and developing people to meet them. There must be a commitment from top management to develop all employees, a review on needs and planning for the training and development of all employees; training and development from recruitment and through out their employment; and an evaluation in the investment for training. Investing in people creates a win-win situation where the company benefits from improved performance and employees through the development of careers opportunities. This results in the creation of an environment that will continue to aid the company’s growth and enhance the development of the people.

Industry is no longer drawn to the comparative advantage of abundant natural resources, but instead to pools of human skills. American and British governments neither promote the education nor the training in depth nor the infrastructure foundations necessary for the post electromechanical society.” Henry Ford.

Japan effectively maintained its competitivity through training. Japanese workers received rigorous basic training, plus firm level of training and follow up training. In addition, companies use activities such as job rotation to achieve more flexible work practices and to contribute toward preparing multi-function workers.

Many western organizations have been convinced of the potential of training after noticing its success in Japan. Moreover, studies in the United States have proved empirically that there is a link between adoption of training programs and productivity goals. Many researchers outside Japan have also found conclusive evidence between training and increased productivity. Germany’s training culture was a main reason for its economic culture. In U.K, in 1995 British Telecom announced that seven million pounds investment in management and training is estimated to have brought a 280 million pounds return to the company. Motorola in the U.S is known to spend 1% of its sale or, 2.6% of its payroll on training and the training of employees of its key suppliers. It has been reported that Motorola gets a return rate of 30 times of what it invested in dollars. (Extracts from study by V.Appanah, L’Express 23 July1996)

Malaysia has around 400 government and 1500 private training centers, and about 1200 of the centers run approximately 6000 courses, leading to the National Vocational Qualifications. The government of Malaysia wants employers to incorporate investment in human capital in their strategic objectives. (http://.bermana.com accessed 21.02.06)

“With the advancement in all spheres of life, the need for qualified professionals has become the call of the hour. The highly skilled manpower needed to run the industries, R&D institutions and services sector comes from institutions of higher technical education. To become a knowledge superpower the country need to overhaul the university system and set a target to raise the number of science PhDs from the current 5000 a year to 25000 in 10 years. (Laxmi Narain Agarwal, chairman of Shri Ramsaroop Memorial College of Engineering & Management) India Today Dec.2005 issue.

CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW

What is Training?

Training is a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge or skill behavior through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or a range of activities. Its purpose in the work situation is to develop the abilities of the individual to satisfy the current and future manpower needs of the organization. (Manpower Service Commission 1901)

Training is an evolving concept, it is an organized systematic series of activities designed to enhance the individual’s work-related knowledge, skills and understanding and/or for motivation. GOETH & DAVIES

Armstrong 1995 said Training means investing in people to enable them to perform better and to empower them to make best use of abilities.

The goal of training is for employees to master the knowledge, skills and behavior emphasized in Training programs and apply them to their day to day activities. (Raymond A. Doe 1999)

Organization gets things done when people do their jobs effectively. To make this happen the job holders need to be well trained. A number of people are likely to be involved in this training by identifying the needs of the Organization and of the individual, by selecting and designing appropriate training to meet these needs, by delivering and assessing how effective it was. It is not only the trainers who are involved in the process: personnel managers, supervisors and job holders are all likely to have a role to play.

The difference between Training, Education, Induction and Learning.

Education

Education has been defined as activities which aim at developing the knowledge, skill, moral values and understanding required in all aspects of life. It is a broad umbrella covering several pertinent issues. Its purpose is to provide the conditions essential to young people to develop an understanding of the traditions and ideas influencing the society in which they live. (Red et Al 1994).By education we generally mean the broadening or deepening of the knowledge base of people or groups of people, often accompanied by some form of accreditation. Education is to do with reframing, refining, or developing the mind, and so also can affect people’s attitudes and values. (Tony Miller, co-author of (measuring the impact of Training and Development on the bottom line).

Induction

Induction is the process of entry into jobs. It is about methods employed in helping employees to cope with a new job in a strange organization. The aims of the induction process are to:

  • To make the employee efficient as quickly as possible.
  • To encourage the new employee to become committed to the organization and thus less likely to leave quickly.
  • To familiarize the new employee with the job so that the feeling of being ‘out of place’ is quickly dispelled.

Learning

Learning is a natural process in which we all engage. From birth, humans like all animals, learn and develop, and this learning and development leads to skilful and effective adaptation to and manipulation of the environment, which is one element in a much-quoted definition of intelligence (Wechler, 1958, in Ribeaux and Popleton, 1978:189)

Most of us have learned a good deal more out of school than in it. We have learned from our families, our work, and our friends. We have learned from problems resolved and tasks achieved but also from mistakes confronted and illusions unmasked. Intentionally or not, we have learned from the dilemmas our lives hand us daily. (Daloz, 1986: 1) Learning is defined as a change in capability whether of individuals, teams or organizational units themselves.

Learning is the most powerful, engaging, rewarding and enjoyable aspect of our personal and collective life. Learning enables the individual to meet the demands of change.

The role of training.

The role of training is to support the delivery or organizational goals and ensure that the policies of administration are effectively implemented. Effective training aligned to organizational objectives can improve operational performance, promote corporate identity, provide job satisfaction, combat public dissatisfaction and fulfill legal obligations.

There is no doubt that the future organization should be a learning organization and the future employee one who is continually seeking to develop him or herself. Lifelong learning means continuous adaptation. Increased knowledge and improved skills enlarge the individual’s capacities to adapt to the environment and to change that environment.

In today’s competitive world everyone agrees that training and development should be geared towards achieving business goals and objectives. The role of training is also to:

  • Provide job satisfaction

Improve customers’ satisfaction.

Learning organization

A Learning organization is one where there is a deliberate management of learning processes. In a few words, according to consultant and writer Bob Garatt the characteristics of a learning organization are:

  • Learning organizations encourage at all levels of the organization to learn regularly and rigorously from their work.
  • They have systems for capturing learning and moving it where it is needed.
  • They value learning and have the capacity of continuously transform themselves.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge refers to what individuals and teams of employees know or know how to do (human and social knowledge) as well as company’s rules, processes, tools, and routines (structured knowledge).

Knowledge management is the process of enhancing company performance by designing and implementing tool, processes, systems, structures, and culture to improve the creation, sharing, and the use of knowledge. Knowledge management can help companies to get products and services, and attract new employees and retain current ones by giving people the opportunity to learn and develop.

Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them” Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence.p.80

The term encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Mood management.
  3. Self-motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Managing relationship.

In companies, the inclusion of Emotional Intelligence in training programs has helped employees cooperate better and motivate more, thereby increasing productivity and profits.

Training Policy

It is very important to develop a training policy. The policy determines how training will be conducted. The training strategy can only be formulated when the operational goals of the organization is clearly understood. It is an expression of the broad intentions, the basic options, the priorities and the strategies of administration in the area of staff training.

Mission

This is a concise statement of the fundamental purpose of the training function and the goals to be achieved to fulfill that purpose.

Values

Value is a deeply held conviction about correct behavior under certain circumstances. All training programmes must be so designed to include the development of positive attitude towards self, task and organization.

Principles

Whilst values gives a sense of direction to the organization, pointing towards the general direction to follow the principles serves as a beacon to show the way to the selected destination and helps to negotiate obstacles along the road. Principles are laid down to avoid inconsistencies in decision making and to avoid time wasting through excessive consultations with policy makers.

Accountability

This is about how the different tasks associated with training will be shared among stakeholders and clients of the training function. Once this is done each party becomes accountable to the tasks that have been assigned to him. The efficiency and cost effectiveness of training programmes will depend on how well each party assumes his responsibility. The parties include senior management, the human resource manager, the training manager and the field managers.

Ethics

Ethics is a body of principles or standards of human conduct that govern the behavior of individuals and groups. Ethics arise not simply from man’s creation but from human nature itself making it a natural body of laws from which man’s laws flow.

Culture

Culture is commonly defined as “the rules of conduct”, “how things are done”, “the prevailing climate”, “corporate values”, etc. The problem with these definitions is that they are at best risky oversimplifications and they are categorically incorrect. A more substantial definition has been given by Quality guru Crosby and Juran. Crosby defines culture as the “the creation of values, beliefs, and behaviors necessary for success,” which suggests culture is an entity man creates to meet the need of the group at the time. So is culture a natural pattern of behaviors (Crosby) or a man made entity born out of reasoning and necessity (Juran)?Research has shown that both themes are true at the same time.

Systematic approach to training

Training can contribute to the effective use of resources in an organization, only if approached in a systematic manner.

The systematic approach consists of four distinct stages. Although presented in different formats in different models, they contain the same activities which are as follows:

  • Identification of training needs.
  • Planning of training programmes.
  • Implementing training programmes.
  • Evaluation of training programmes.

Training Needs Analysis

Training is expensive and should be delivered only when it has been confirmed that training is the best solution to a performance problem. Very often performance problems are associated with factors in the working environment such as insufficient resources, inappropriate management practices, etc. This type of problems cannot be solved by training.

A process of training needs analysis is necessary to confirm that:

  • There is a performance problem;
  • Training can solve the problem; and
  • Training is the most appropriate method of solving it.

The aims and objectives of the organization play a major role in analysis of training needs.

Importance of needs analysis

Training involves mobilization of important amount of human and capital resources. To avoid unnecessary waste of resources, a training need analysis is of vital importance. It helps to determine the numbers and category of staff that needs to be trained in order to equip them with the required skills to deliver the expected level of performance that will enable the organization to meet its objectives in a most efficient manner now and in the near future. The systematic identification of training needs involves three processes. They are organizational analysis, job analysis and individual analysis.

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Organization Analysis

Organizational analysis is the process of collecting information, analyzing the information to identify performance problems and design appropriate training programmes to cater for all categories of the employees department wise wherever it is required. Normally this exercise is carried out by making use of methods such as observation, interviews and consulting documents pertaining to the organization. Information is collected in a structured manner from top management downwards. The information collected is then collated and interpreted. The needs analysis team then prepares a report highlighting the performance problems identified at different level and at the same time indicate the nature of the problems specifying whether they are job oriented, developmental or educational.

Job Analysis

Before organizing training programmes for employees it is necessary to analyze their jobs from the training point of view. Organization analysis throws light on jobs where the jobholder needs training. The jobs thus identified are analyzed and detailed inventory of tasks involved in the job is prepared. Each task is examined to determine the level of skills required for effective performance.

Job analysis can be carried for various purposes but from the training point of view the objectives is essentially to determine the content of the training programme, devise appropriate assessment tests to measure effectiveness of training. It also helps to decide upon the equipment to be used in delivering the training and also the appropriate methods to employ to deliver the training.

Individual Analysis

Much of the information required, for getting an insight into the strength and weaknesses of individual for the purpose of identifying the areas which need to be developed in the individual worker can be obtained from organizational records. These records include personal profile records, performance appraisals etc. discreet observation of the worker doing the job and in depth interviews can also help in identifying the gap between the actual level of performance of the worker and the expected level. The exercise starts with the analysis of the person’s educational qualifications, professional competence, experience, training etc. for assessing qualities of the managers, techniques such as performance appraisal by superior, interpersonal skill analysis and discussion with subordinates can be used. For non managerial personnel techniques such as fault analysis, skill analysis and time measurement can be employed.

Planning of the Training

Planning a training session involves 1) establishing learning objectives based upon identified training needs; 2) identifying the components you want to cover in your session and 3) assembling specific methods and activities in a coherent design that might be compared to a movie script. Learning objectives are statements of what we want a learner to know, feel, or be able to do at the end of the training. Learning components are statements of what will be covered in the training session. The training design arranges specific methods and activities in order to accomplish the learning objectives. At the stage of planning, important issues such as the objectives of the training, the time ,the place, the content, the learning methods to be used, the persons who are going to deliver the training and the administration of the training programme is established.

Training objectives

Training objectives should be expressed in terms of the behavior or competencies expected of the trainee at the end of the training. The objectives should be in line with the trainee’s need and is usually expressed in terms such as “by the end of the training programme, the trainees should be able to do such and such things in such ways.”

Timing

The timing of the training is also an important factor in the success of a training programme. Some important factors to be taken into consideration are the need to minimize the disruption to the trainee, and as far as possible get the trainee view about the most appropriate time for training. Another important aspect regarding the timing of training is that the training should given at such a time that the trainee has the opportunity to apply the lesson learned at the work place immediately after the training. Of course there are often budgetary constraints and availability of trainers, training rooms and training facilities to be considered but as far as possible they should be reconciled with above mentioned factors, i.e. convenience of trainees.

Design

This is an exercise which is carried out before the commencement of a training programme to establish a plan for the logical treatment of learning topics, the time frame, the communication skill, the techniques and equipment to be used to facilitate learning. A good session design is aimed at arousing the trainee’s interest and appeal to his curiosity for learning. It is the process of identifying, selecting and arranging subject matters, appropriate training methods, techniques, materials equipment, allocating learning time with a view to producing training material and session guide in line with each specific learning objective.

Trainers

The training can be delivered either by external trainers, consultants or by suitable employees who have been trained to train. When external consultants are used, it is essential to brief them properly about the backgrounds and expectations of the trainees and the training tradition of the organization. These days more and more companies are developing the training skills of their own managers. The trainers must prepare themselves in the light of the requirements of learning sessions. This advance planning enables them to finalize the main ingredients of a learning session before its administration in a classroom situation.

Administration

You can have a good location, a relevant and interesting programme and the best of trainers and yet training fails to achieve its objectives if it is not administered properly. Therefore administration of the training is very important. The administrator must ensure that the participants are aware of the location, the timetable and the objectives of the programme. Training is not interrupted, training materials are available in time and the importance of apparently small problems such non appearance of tea and coffee at the scheduled time is not overlooked.

Content

When designing training programmes it is important to take into consideration the fact that different people learn in different ways. Kolb argues that effective learners rely on four different learning modes, and each individual has an orientation toward one of these which are: – concrete experience, reflexive observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. (Kolb et al, 1995). Honey and Mumford developed a similar instrument to that of Kolb, also comprising four learning styles which categorize people into:-activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists.(Honey and Munford, 1992).an alternative conception of the learning style termed “integral learning” has also been developed by Engestrom(1994; 32-35).

Training methods

There are many and varied training methods, the trainer must select the methods which are suitable to the trainees and the resources available. A number of methods can also be usefully combined, depending on the aims and objectives of the training. New training methods appear every year. While some are well founded in learning theory or models of behavior change (e.g. behavior modeling), others result more from technological than theoretical developments (e.g. presentation software, use of animation and sound, and use of computer-based games).

Training methods can be classified in three ways: information presentation techniques, simulation methods, and on-the-job training methods.

Information presentation techniques include lectures, conferences, correspondence courses, videos, distance learning, behavior modeling and systematic observation, programmed instructions, intelligent tutoring, sensitivity training and organization development which is a systematic, long range program of organizational improvement.

Simulation methods include the case method, role-playing, interactive simulations for virtual teams, virtual reality, the in-basket technique, and business games.

On-the-job training methods

The objective of classroom training is to equip officers with the knowledge, skill and attitude required for proper job performance. However, acquiring the theory and stimulating practical application in this way is not enough. The trainee needs further assistance to transfer the training to the work place. The solution is, providing the trainee with on-the-job training. Here the trainer stimulates learners by encouraging participation, using appropriate presentation methods and techniques, relating personal experiences, conveying a sense of enthusiasm and using humor. Very often on-the-job training is limited to occasional ad-hoc lectures or demonstrations provided as and when job performance problems are identified. To be successful and complete OJT must be planned. The planning is only possible when the OJT trainer knows exactly what other training, such as classroom training, may have been received.

On-the-job training methods include orientation training, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, near-the-job training (using identical equipment but away from the job itself), job rotation, committee assignments (or junior executive boards), under study assignments, on-the-job coaching, and performance appraisal.

In the context of developing interpersonal skills, training methods are typically chosen to achieve one or more of three objectives:

  • Promoting self-insight and environmental awareness, that is an understanding of how one’s action affects others and how one is viewed by others.
  • Improving the ability of managers and lower level employees to make decisions to solve job-related problems in a constructive fashion.
  • Maximizing the desire to perform well.

To choose the training method or combination of methods that best fit a given situation, it is important to define what you wish to teach. This the purpose of the needs assessment phase. Only then a method that best fit these requirements can be chosen. To be useful the method must meet the minimal conditions needed for effective learning to take place; that is, the training method should:

  • Motivate the trainee to improve his/her performance.
  • Clearly illustrate the desired skills.
  • Allow the trainee to participate actively.
  • Provide an opportunity to practice.
  • Provide timely feedback on the trainee’s performance.
  • Provide some means of reinforcement while the trainee learns.
  • Be structured from simple to complex tasks.
  • Be adaptable to specific problems.
  • Encourage positive transfer from the training to the job.

Implementing the programmes

Effective training depends on thorough needs analysis, a good programme planning and design. All these efforts would be wasted if the delivery of the programme is inadequate. Some factors to be considered are: – The size of the group, the class set up and the right mix of participants. The process of selecting the participants should involve the supervisors and finally but most importantly the trainees should want to trained.

The training programme must be conducted in accordance with the training objectives and design. Effective communication with the trainees should be established and the trainees must be given feedback on how they are doing. The trainer can thus discover learning problems if ever they occur and help trainees to overcome them.

Evaluation of Training

Training evaluation is the process of identifying how successful the training has proved to be. It involves collecting and analyzing information to determine whether or not the aims of the training have been achieved and at same time to gain insight into areas that demands improvement in the future. For evaluation to be effective specific aspects of performance change should be monitored because changes in individual and organizational performance may have been influenced by factors other than the training itself. Donald Kirkpatrick expressed his ideas about training evaluation in a series of articles published in the US training and development journal as far back as 1959. The articles were subsequently included in Kirkpatrick’s book Evaluating Training programs (1975) published by the ASTD, with whom Kirkpatrick still maintains close connection as at 2005. Kirkpatrick’s model has become the most widely used and popular model for evaluating training and learning. His four-level model was redefined and updated in his 1998 book called Evaluating Training Programs program. The four level of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model essentially measure:

  • Reaction of the student- What they thought and felt about the training.
  • Learning- the resulting increase in knowledge and capability.
  • Behavior-extent of behavior and capability improvement / implementation.
  • Results-the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance.

Importance of Evaluation

Evaluation is important because it provides the opportunity to demonstrate that the training was successful and has achieved its objectives. It provides information for improvement of future training and provides management with feedback about the return on training investment. Furthermore it directs training to meet organizational needs, provide trainees with a framework with which they can measure their competence and also provide the opportunity for line managers to be involved in the training and development of the staff.

Areas that need to be evaluated are the training infrastructure itself, the performance of the training staff and the ability of the trainees to meet the objectives of the training.

The training infrastructure is evaluated to see whether the facilities regarding the training centre including the training materials are adequate, and whether the appropriate methods are being employed. The infrastructure should be such so as to support effectiveness at all levels. It is important for the trainers to possess in-depth knowledge and also experience in their respective fields. But a person with technical knowledge and a wide experience is not necessarily a good teacher. Therefore it is the responsibility of the training centre to provide for newly selected trainers with the opportunity to develop and polish their training skills.

At the beginning of every training programme the objectives of the training are set. The objectives define in clear terms the expected standards and conditions under which, the expected level of performance are to be achieved. At the evaluation stage it is seen whether the trainee can successfully transfer his learning to the workplace and perform to the expected level under the stated conditions.

Most of the time evaluation of the training infrastructure and the ability of trainees to meet the training objectives set at the design stage are carried out by the training staff itself. However, it is recommended that self evaluation be avoided as far as possible and should be supplemented by outside independent evaluators who can be contracted to evaluate every aspect of the training programme.

Level 1-Reactions

The reactions of the trainees are usually collected by asking them to complete “reactions questionnaires” at the end of the training session. They can also be called upon to give their opinion on how the training is progressing on a daily or weekly basis. This exercise is meant to give to give the trainees opportunity to give their immediate reaction to what they have learned from the training session and to know, whether training will help them to improve their job performance. Reaction questionnaires can also shed light on areas such as the effectiveness of the training methods, the effectiveness of the trainers, the appropriateness of the training aids and the overall organization of the training programme.

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The findings from the evaluation is used to make required adjustments to training methods, to make adjustment to the training content and also help to decide whether level 3 or level 4 evaluation is desirable.

Level 2- Learning

This level of evaluation is concerned about determining whether the enabling or specific objectives of the training have been met. The enabling objectives are statements about what the trainees will actually be able to do at specific time during the training session. The purpose of Level 2 is to determine the extent to which these objectives have been met.

Level 3- Behavior

This level of evaluation is concerned about whether the trainee can actually perform the job at the workplace. The evaluation procedures are to establish whether learning acquired during the training is being applied to the job. This can be done by asking the trained officers themselves or their supervisors whether they are doing things differently as a result of training. Pre-training performance level is compared to post-training performance level. The use of “control group” is also recommended for this purpose that is to compare the performance of trained officers with the performance of officers who have not been trained.

Level 4 – Results

Level 4 evaluation is conducted to determine the extent to which the training contributed to the objectives of the organization. This is the acid test. Key performance indicators such as volumes, values, percentages, return on investment, and other quantifiable aspects of the organizational performance like number of complaints, wastage, growth, retention etc are measured. It can happen that the trainees master what they were supposed to learn in the training and are able to perform to the level expected at the time of formulation of the training objectives and yet the desired performance fail to achieve the results that the organization was expecting. When such things happen it proves that the problem with organization cannot be solved by training. The problem could be somewhere else and the training needs were not accurately identified. The problem could be with the structure, the management or/and inadequacy of the existing facilities.

Methods of evaluation

There are several methods for evaluating each of the four levels mentioned above. The method should be appropriate for the circumstances, should be objective, valid, easy to administer and above all acceptable to those involved. When questionnaires and interviews are used for evaluation purposes, the participation must be voluntary and participants should not be required to reveal their identities. The design of questionnaires and guidelines for interviews is a very serious matter which requires a lot of skill and expert advice should be sought if necessary.

Soliciting participants’ reactions towards a training programme through oral interviews and written tests are the most common methods employed to carry out level (1) and level (2) evaluations.

Oral evaluation is carried out at the beginning of the training to see whether the trainees have any apprehension and to get an insight into their feeling, it is also used at the conclusion of the training. Whenever it is used it is very important to provide the trainees with a short period of time within which to think about their comments before being asked to say what they think.

Evaluations are also carried through tests to see whether objectives of the course have been met. Tests are typically used to motivate the trainees and the trainer, to check both trainer and trainee, to rank trainees and to maintain standards. It also reveals learning gap which can be bridged through counseling. Tests can be used to assess aptitude, achievement and proficiency. A valid test should be reliable in the sense that it must consistently reveal the same results and it should enable one to differentiate between the trainees who have attained the required level of knowledge and competence and those who have not been able to do so.

Role of the training manager.

The training manager’s role can be categorized as follows: – audit, executive, facilitator consultancy and service.

  • Audit: – he must ensure that job descriptions are accurate prior to embarking on a training needs analysis.
  • Executive: – he has the responsibility of running the training course.
  • Facilitator: – He plays an active role in assisting trainees to identify their training needs.
  • Consultancy: – Here his role consists of advising managers on the degree to which training can resolve a problem of inadequate performance from the employees.
  • Service: – he provides management with regular reports on training activities which have taken place in the organization

To sum up everything, he has to help in developing a culture where training and learning become a continuous process, where training is used to equip employees with the skills, behavior and attitudes that will enable the firm to adapt successfully to changes in the environment.

CHAPTER 3 – ORGANISATION OVERVIEW

The Customs and Excise Department.

In England, the term ‘customs’ applied to customary payments of dues of any kind, regal, Episcopal or ecclesiastical until it became restricted to duties payable to the king upon export or import of certain articles of commerce. Excise duty are inland duties levied on articles at the time of their manufacture, most notably on alcoholics drinks, but duties are also levied on goods such as cigarettes and perfumes.

The origin of a nation-wide customs system in England can be traced back to the Winchester Assize of 1203-4 when it was directed that the ‘customary dues at the ports’, should be accounted directly to the State Exchequer, and payable to King John (1199-1216). Legislation concerning customs can be traced to King Edward the First (1272-1307), and in 1298 ‘custodes custumae’ were appointed in certain ports to take direct charge of the collection of customs for the crown.

When the British took possession of the island in 1810, the first Comptroller appointed was Mr C.Teesdale in 1811. He held office till 1816.Ever since there were 23 different British Comptroller of Customs covering period 1816 to 1967. The first Mauritian to hold office of Comptroller was Mr. R.P Maurice who replaced Mr. Sabben the last British Comptroller in 1967 when the country was preparing its independence which eventually came on the 12th March 1968. After Mr. Maurice there were another 5 Mauritian Comptrollers. In the year 2001 Mr. Bert C. Cunningham a Canadian national replaced the last Mauritian Comptroller Mr. Sarawan Gunnoo. Mr. Bert Cunningham is the last comptroller of Customs in Mauritius. As from this year this post is going to be abolished and replaced by the post of Director of customs when the Customs and Excise department will merge with other revenue departments to form the Revenue Authority. Mr. Bert Cunningham is going to be the first director of customs.

Mission

The mission of the Customs and Excise Department is to realize in the most efficient and effective manner the government policy with regards to revenue collection and cross border control, facilitation of the movement of goods and persons, protection of the society of the society and its environment through rational application of Customs laws and trade facilitation procedures with the ultimate goal of contributing to the achievement of the most desired level of economic and social development of the nation.

Vision

The vision is to have a clean and efficient Customs service.

Customs Head Office

The Customs head quarter is situated IKS building Port Louis. It has been here for the past 17 years. The government is planning to provide customs with a modern customs house at the estimated cost of Rs400m.

Staff

We have at present 720 officers ranked as follows:

Chief customs and excise officers 28

Principal Customs and Excise officers 96

Senior Customs and Excise officers 271

Customs and excise Officers 325

SERVICES PROVIDED

SSR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

At the SSR International Airport we have team of officers which offers a 24 hours service to incoming and outgoing passengers. Their duty consists of facilitating the flow of compliant passengers while at the same time ascertaining that all goods being merchandise for sale carried by passengers are dealt with in the appropriate manner. They also ascertain that movements of goods from the duty free shops are under close customs control, exercise control on bonded stores on board aircrafts, use profiling techniques to target high risk passengers and ensure that all dutiable goods are properly classified and the appropriate rate of duty applied. Apart from the regular team there also a team of specially trained officers from the customs drug unit who focus their attention on identifying and intercepting suspected drug smugglers. The regular officers posted at the airport arrival in close collaboration with officers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health & Quality of Life exercise control over all species of fauna and flora mentioned in the Washington (CITES) convention, entering the country. They also enforce provisions of the Montreal convention with regards to protection of the environment.

IKS BUILDING

At the IKS building we offer services to the trading community and the general public from 9hrs to 15.30hrs on weekdays and from 9hrs to 1200hrs on Saturdays.

The Sections at the IKS Building and their functions

Compliance section

The Compliance section checks all declarations at import to ascertain that the declarants have complied with all prescribed regulations. Whenever there is a doubt as to the value of goods declared, they refer the declarations to the valuation for confirmation of the transaction value. They use risk management techniques to decide upon which declarations require physical examination and refer them to the examination section.

The Tariff Unit

The tariff unit provides free service on tariff classification to traders. They advise all units on tariff matters, they assist tariff boards on technical matters and communicate tariff changes to all sections of the department.

Valuation Section

They make sure that the value of goods with regards to declarations referred to them is in fact the transaction value. They also compile and maintain data bases for valuation purposes and also carry out investigation on sensitive items to ensure that the correct value has been declared.

Post Clearance Control Unit

In line with the concern for maximum trade facilitation they carry out checks on declarations where delivery has already been effected to ensure that the correct amount of duty and taxes have been paid and that all trade agreements and regulations have been complied with.

Exemption Monitoring Unit

The unit monitors all declarations where exemptions and concessions have been granted. They ascertain that goods delivered under Form30 are duly signed by their beneficiaries with in the prescribed period and also to ensure that goods for which exemptions and concessions are granted are being used for the purpose for which the exemption or concession was granted.

Registration Section

The section register all new importers after liaising with the Income tax department to make sure the proper TAN number is being allocated after verification of all prescribed documents.

Customs Investigation and Intelligence Unit

This section is made up of the Risk management and selectivity unit, the Investigation unit and the Customs drug unit. The section is responsible for maintaining a high level of intelligence and investigative functions for overall improvement of revenue collection and to safeguard the quality of service.

Risk Management and Selectivity Unit

The risk management and selectivity unit collects, analyze and disseminate operational intelligence. They collate record and disseminate information for investigation and intelligence purposes. They establish risk assessment criteria based on intelligence for targeting high risks importers and goods through the selectivity tool of the CMS. They also process requests for selectivity from other enforcement units. They also provide training on Risk Management to ensure that the concept of Risk Management is understood by all officers and risk management principles are applied to facilitate legitimate trade with relinquishing control.

Investigation Unit

They carry investigations on all cases where a fraud has been detected. They also carry out in-depth investigations and analysis to uncover other discrepancies in the area disclosed by the offence. Their role is to fight against all forms of fiscal evasion and combat frauds and criminal activities.

Drug Unit

The drug unit operates at the airport and the seaport and at other points of entry such the PPO and Midex to control all passengers and goods suspected of conveying drugs into the country. They work in close collaboration with the ADSU and the CustomsK9 unit.

Flexible Anti Smuggling Team (FAST)

This is a special team which has been mandated to intercept and re-examine consignments which have been already examined and delivered by the regular staff. They are everywhere on the fields and can react swiftly to hot line information.

Joint Port Drug Unit

This is also a special unit composed of police and Customs officers. They have been specially trained and provided with appropriate gear and tools to rummage vessels calling at Port-Louis.

Capitainerie Building (Quay D)

At the Capitainerie building we have our Preventive branch. A team of officers is present at any time of the day and the night to exercise control on all vessels, their crew and their passengers calling at the harbors.

Caudan Steps Office

We also operate an office at the Caudan water front. This office operates 24 hrs a day to control every person landing from vessels or going on board vessels in the harbor.

DRAGON HOUSE Little Pump Street Port-Louis

At the dragon house we have the following sections and their roles are:

Secondary Industries

This unit ensures that all scheduled goods are correctly declared. They exercise control on the activities of industries in the EPZ sector. They process and issue EUR1, SADC and IOC certificates on demand and also ensure the requirements for export to US under AGOA are satisfied. They also develop procedures to facilitate the activities of the Industry sector.

IPR Section

This is a unit which has been set up to enforce the provisions of the TRIPPS Agreement on IPR. Officers have received training to detect and seize counterfeit goods.

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Export Section

This section ensures that all export declarations are accompanied by the proper documents, all goods exported are manifested and export manifests are submitted in time. They also ensure that all declarations where there is a claim for drawback or refund of VAT are clearly endorsed. Finally they have to make sure that trading community is informed of all changes in export procedures in a timely manner.

Bond section

They have to ensure that all formalities regarding warehousing and ex-warehousing of goods are duly completed, all bonded warehouses are covered with sufficient securities at all times, all records whether hard copies or computerized ones are properly kept and maintained, all padlocks and keys are safely kept and all bond warehouses are controlled through regular visits and submission of monthly returns.

The Tax Training School

The tax training school is the institution that provides officers of the revenue departments which includes the Customs and Excise Department with Training.

Freight Stations

Officers are also present at the PATS Air Cargo, the various freight stations including the Parcel Post Office and Midex where goods are landed, stored and examined by Customs before being cleared.

Legislation and Conventions

To be able to carry the duties and responsibilities that have been entrusted to them, customs officers are empowered to enforce principally the Customs Act and Regulations made under the Act, The Customs Tariff Act, the Excise Act, the Ports Act, the Freeport Act, the Industrial Expansion Act, the Export Service Zone Act and the Dangerous Drugs Act. In its role to protect the society, Customs also apply the Firearms Act, the Pesticide Control Ordinance and Food and Drugs Act.

Further more, to be able to deliver effectively, Customs officers must also be conversant with the harmonized system of classifying goods, the WTO valuation system which is about the international rules for valuation of imported goods, The Kyoto Convention which is about the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures, Kyoto provides the framework of modern, efficient and effective customs procedures of the 21st century Customs, The Istanbul Convention which provides for the temporary admission of goods, the use of ATA carnet and the conditions under which the carnet is accepted by contracting parties to the Convention, The Nairobi Convention which is the International Convention on the mutual administrative assistance for the prevention, investigation and repression of customs offences, The Johannesburg Convention which provides the legal basis for exchange of information between administrations at the international level as well as administrative assistance provisions to facilitate correct application of Customs laws, The Washington Convention on the protection of endangered species (CITES) the Montreal Convention on the protection of the environment, and others. It is also important for them to master the Rules of Origin so that multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements such as SADC, COMESA, IOC, AGOA etc. are successfully implemented to promote the development of trade and investment. To keep abreast with the latest legislations and new way of doing things such as E-commerce Customs officers need to be continuously trained and retrained.

The Role of Customs in the context of Globalization.

In recent years there has been a dramatic change in International trade. The volume of goods being traded worldwide has increased exponentially. This is a direct result of the philosophy of trade liberation, dismantling of barriers, quotas and protectionism advocated and encouraged by the WTO. The increase in the speed and volume of trade put a lot of pressure on our resources and also creates opportunities for smugglers. Customs operating in a global economy are faced with a complex range of challenges. The prime responsibilities remain the collection of revenue and the protection of society and Customs must assess and collect all applicable duties, taxes and penalties, facilitate legitimate trade, tourism and travel, combat drug smuggling and other contrabands, combat IPR violations, frauds and money laundering, enforce protection of environment, health and public safety, promote uniform and transparent systems, and collect accurate import and export data for compilation of international trade statistics. To be able to carry out these challenging tasks efficiently and effectively, Customs must necessarily resort to the use of information and communication technology and most importantly train its members to use modern techniques and tools to identify high risk areas so that maximum facilitation could be given to the compliant stakeholders.

Computerization

Conscious of the challenges lying ahead Customs embarked on a computerization programme as far back as 1989. In 1996 The ASYCUDA system was replaced by a tailored made version of the Singaporean Trade Net System known by the name of CMS. The CMS is a computer program that receives and validates declarations, receives and validates manifests from shipping agents, accepts payments, channels declarations to GREEN,YELOW or RED, enables officers to view, clear or tag declarations, send messages to declarants and accepts post entries and many more functions. In short it is a computer programme that manages customs transactions. Without the timely implementation of a comprehensive computer program Customs would not have been able to cope with the number of declarations that are being processed daily and to provide the trading community with a satisfactory level of service. The CMS is being enhanced and very soon it will become one of the most sophisticated customs clearance systems in the world, comparable to the ASYCUDA WORLD.

Detector Dog Program

In 2004 with the assistance of French Customs a detector dog unit was set up. These dogs will play an important role in our drugs interdiction programme. Before the setting up of its own drug unit customs was using police dogs to assist in the examination of certain types of cargoes such as container loads of handicraft items and other similar consignments which is very difficult to examine thoroughly without the help of dogs.

X-ray scanners at the port and the airport.

Two state of the art X-Ray scanners, have been acquired fro China. A pallet sized one has been installed at the SSR airport and a re-locatable model for scanning containers has been put into place at the New Container Terminal. Both of them are operational from March 2006. The container scanner can scan up to 25 scanners in an hour. It is going to contribute to Facilitation by enabling Customs to decide upon the containers that should be physically examined in a systematic manner. The scanner though expensive is a very valuable tool in the fight against smuggling, especially in cases where drugs are concealed in the walls or floor of the containers themselves.

Challenges facing Customs

Modern Customs will have to contend with a wide range of International trade innovations such as express delivery and other multimodal delivery services and an increasing work load of global supply, production and distribution systems relying on JIT logistical networks. JIT has resulted in multiple and frequent consignments. Keeping Customs practice in tune with such commercial developments will call for equally innovative changes in basic administrative management. Customs will be obliged to handle a growing workload in processing in processing goods and passengers with only existing or even reduced staffs. If Customs is to be successful in its mission it must necessarily transform itself into a learning organization.

Training at the Customs Department.

In the1970s recruits joined the Customs Department as cadets. They were provided with classroom training in the morning and in the evening they were posted at different posts within the department to enable to learn by observing their peers at work. Normally the postings were changed at weekly intervals to ensure that all of them have the opportunity to work at as many different postings as possible. At that time the training was dispensed by a senior member of the department and the topics covered were the provisions of the Customs Act and the Excise Act. After a probationary period of six months, the recruits had to sit for an examination on customs and excise legislations. Successful candidates were appointed Customs and Excise Officers Grade 2.

As from 1974, the recruits were appointed as Customs and Excise Officers Grade 2 upon joining the department but they were on probation for a period of two years. As soon as they joined the department they were stationed at various different posts to learn the trade by actually doing the job and learning from their colleagues. They were provided with a copy of the Customs Act, a copy of the Excise Act and a copy of The Customs Tariff Act. At the end of the period of two years the recruits were given some classroom training to prepare them for their examinations.

Nowadays there is a big change from the way training was conducted in the past. Today the training function is more organized and training is planned and conducted in a more professional manner. There is a Customs a training school, a training policy and a training programme. The Customs department has benefited a lot from the WCO in the field of training. The WCO is an inter-governmental organization whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Customs Services throughout the world. It has at present some 168 member countries. Ever since its creation as the Customs Cooperative Council on the 26 of January 1952 the organization has been continuously striving to harmonize Customs procedures in all member countries so as to facilitate World trade and thus contribute to the economic well-being of nations. The head-quarter is situated in Brussels, Belgium. The secretariat of the WCO is composed of international officials, technical experts and administrative staff of some thirty different nationalities. The WCO has produced a lot of work on the harmonization of rules relating to the classification and valuation of goods, determination of origin and electronic data interchange. Some of the works of the WCO which are available on CD-ROMs and book forms are:

  • Harmonised System Commodity Database and Explanatory notes.
  • Subscription to The Harmonised System Data base and Explanatory notes on line
  • “Harmonizer” Computerbased Harmonised System training/single user.
  • Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System/bilingual/third edition(2002)
  • Harmonized System Classification Handbook with amending Supplements.
  • Amendments to the Harmonized System Nomenclature effective from 1 jan.2002
  • Compendium of Classification opinions
  • Explanatory notes to the Harmonized System with amending supplements (third edition 2002)
  • Alphabetical index to Harmonized system 2002
  • Hs Coventions-2002-ms words diskettes
  • Classification decisions taken by the harmonised system committee from the 1st to the 26th sessions (1989-2000)
  • “let’s talk” a national database as a risk assessment tool
  • Brief guide to customs valuation code (1996)
  • WCO symposium on capacity building and the WTO agreement-conference proceedings(2003)
  • Comparison: Brussels definition of value and GATT agreement (1996)
  • Compendium Customs Valuation (1997) with amending supplements.
  • Customs Business meeting on the rules of origin
  • WCO conferences on information technology
  • Customs techniques 9compendium)1995
  • WCO customs data model handbook version1.1 (2003)
  • Revised Kyoto Convention
  • Revised Kyoto in 9 questions
  • WCO symposium on supply chain security conference proceedings
  • Istanbul Convention
  • Handbook-Convention on temporary admission (Istanbul Convention)
  • Introducing the Convention on Temporary Admission (Istanbul Convention)
  • ATA Handbook including amending supplements
  • Custom Conventions
  • Guidelines on consignment for immediate clearance
  • guidelines on advanced passenger information
  • Handbook on customs convention on containers(1995)

The latest collection is called “Customs Compendium” collection reference material dealing with topical customs matters.

The first 4 volumes are already available:

  • Vol 1 Containers scanning equipment
  • Vol 2 Customs Computerization
  • Vol 3 A Secure and Efficient Transit system
  • Vol 4 The Global Information and Intelligence Strategy

In order to create efficient, effective and economic Customs services the WCO has always encouraged and assisted its members in setting up their own Training Schools and training system where the necessary skills and tools can be imparted to their staff. The WCO have even provided step by step Guide to the Conception, Design and Construction of Training Facilities. The WCO is also providing E-Learning opportunities both in English and French to reach as many Customs officers as possible across the World. These courses combine the best of Customs Know-how and expertise with rich multimedia content and provide the user with a complete customs on-line environment.

A customs Training school was created in the year 1990. Training was conducted mainly on an ad hoc basis, by senior members of the department. A tax training school became operational since the 20th of April 2000. Ever since its creation the school has been continuously organizing and dispensing courses for members of the revenue departments, namely: the VAT, CUSTOMS, INCOME TAX and REGISTRATION. The school is situated at little Pump Street, Port Louis and located on the 2nd floor of the Dragon House. The objective of the school is to enhance the knowledge and skills of revenue officers. From time to time courses on Management and Training of Trainers are organized to cater for the needs of the organizations. There is a course coordinator for Customs courses, one for Income Tax courses and one coordinator for VAT and Registration. Most of the courses are delivered by qualified and experienced resource persons provided by the respective revenue departments. However for certain courses on subjects like Management, Accounting, Auditing etc the expertise of resource persons from UOM, UTM and other government bodies are solicited. During financial year 2003-2004 the school has organized 72 courses and seminars attended by 1441 participants. The number of courses has constantly on the rise from 15 in 2001, 33 in 2002, 57 in 2003 and to 72 in 2004. Recently a computer lab has been set up at the Dragon house to provide officers with refresher courses on the CMS, as the system is regularly upgraded to improve its performance and the standard of service delivered to the public. In July 2003 a course on Project Management was organized for the benefit of 34 senior officers in preparation for higher responsibilities in the future. This Management course was delivered by lecturers from the UTM.

In October 2004 and June 2005 two batches of batches of recruits were provided with an Extensive training programme which spanned of a period of 2.5 months. The customs courses were delivered by internal trainers consisting of senior officers who are proficient in their respective fields and received training for trainers. Other subjects such code of ethics, customs structures and career prospects, legal rights and obligations, conditions of service and standard behavior, disciplinary procedures and official secret Act, Corruption offences, Mauritius Port Authority, Police Department,

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