National defense and the developement of citizenship

"Defense! This is the first reason of a State’s existence. Without defense, the State s’ existence can be compromised", once observed the General Charles de Gaulle, during his second speech in 1952 at Bayeux.

If this statement is not undermined yet, it has not always been the case. Through the evolution of history, precisions about the strategic notion of defense have evolved. Since the appearance of first human beings, rivalries and self-defense have been an integral part of their destiny. Next to social evolution, those rivalries have been noticeable through vendettas, battles, wars opposing many groups and clans. But progressively, those groups have being organized through different nations and armies.

Today, defense, with its main political function, extends to the national level because it includes not only the military defense and army forces, but also all administrations responsible for big  and various functions or crucial resources for the survival of the country.

Thus, this concept of global defense becomes rather a priority of States. Its main goal is to ensure security and integrity of the national territory and the security of people in any time, any situations against all types of attacks and aggression.  Defense provides also for the conformity to alliances and international treaties and agreements. Consequently, it is a privileged device of the national sovereignty; and it is also a device for international credibility, basically when it is applied in the multilateral framework.

Because of its strategic position at the borders, the goal of the Customs' administration in the national strategy of defense and in stimulating citizenship is crucial. Contributing to citizenship and the implementation of a policy for national, effective and efficient defense is decisive. Moreover, any strategy of national defense supposes the existence of real citizen spirit in order to be viable. Today, citizenship is the substratum on which the national defense is founded. It is symbolized by the respect of a set of values which unified firmly that community of fellow citizens. Those citizens' values are included in a set of concrete norms, concerning their duties and rights, linked together in a politico-judicial status of citizens. This is guaranteed in the frame of State-Nation.

The mission of the Customs’ administration is crucial in the national defense and the development of citizenship because of its strategic situation to borders. In fact, the Customs ensures the policing of international relationships. In so doing, the Customs contributes entirely to the protection against international threats and the ones not clearly related to military aggressions, but also to clash and strengthening of the cult of citizenship. This appears through the pursuit of various missions reflecting a strategic importance.

In a first point, it concerns the fiscal mission which consists of liquidating duties and taxies for the public Treasury. In a second point, the Customs has an economic goal within the logic of this fiscal mission. Thus, the Customs controls trade flows, on the basis of fixed norms as far as international trade is concerned. In a word, the Customs’ main goal is to struggle against fraud and the great international traffic. In this perspective, the Customs has to ensure the protection of economic and financial interests, in the national and community level. In a last point, the customs also contributes to the protection of public and health security, the protection of environment or national patrimony. Definitely, the Customs 'administration participates in the national defense (I), and to the development of citizenship (II) too.

I - THE CUSTOMS'ADMINISTRATION, A MAINSTAY OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE OF SENEGAL

Today, forms of threats and ways to respond to have deeply evolved. But they have become particularly diverse and cover all aspects of political, social and economic life of a State. Thus, three types of threats corresponding to the present contours the national defense includes have been identified. The three types are the civil defense, the economic, and the military one.

The contribution of the customs’ administration in ensuring the policing of international relationships of the country is important in the application of the global defense. This global defense is particularly composed of the economic (A) and civic (B) defense of the nation.

A- THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE CUSTOMS'ADMINISTRATION TO THE ECONOMIC AND NATIONAL DEFENSE IN SENEGAL

The involvement of the administration of Senegalese customs in the economic defense is noticeable through its contribution to funding the State budget (1), supporting the economic competitiveness of Senegalese companies (2) and the strengthening of the controls’ effectiveness and the surveillance of the customs’ territory (3). 

1- The Customs’ contribution in funding the State budget

At any time, Customs’ achievements have been rising excepted the slight decrease happened in 2000. This can be compared to 1999 year which explains amply the imperative time limit of maturation necessary for the economic operators’ to adapt to the new context, introduced by the given effect of the Common Foreign Tariff concerning the WAEMU community.

Face to new challenges, the Customs’ administration has come to bring daring reforms in its mode of functioning, with a spirit of anticipation on the evolution of the regional community. Considerable efforts are made for adaptation and openness to technological innovations within the determinant support of the Department of Economy and Finances. In the same logic, partners to development also have brought an appreciable monitoring.

2- The support to the economic competitiveness of Senegalese companies

Today, companies are at the center of the issue on economic and social development. Through their function of creating wealth, they constitute a strong lever of economic increase and the rise of    populations’ standard living. Now a set of changes characterize the international economic environment, basically concerning openness to the foreign markets. Thus, in such a context companies are in an ongoing situation of competition and rivalries in the global market. From that time, all initiated actions at an international, regional or state level converge on the necessity to redefine a favorable context that encourages emergence and the developpement of companies, particularly the medium-sized and small companies in our developing countries. Senegalese companies are facing to many difficulties among which the scarcity of financial resources, the limited local market, the multiplicity of controls, the terrible lack of credible economic information (data). From this time, they should overcome all the above-mentioned difficulties to challenge the competitiveness, the openness of foreign markets and the promotion of export activities and investment. 

a - The reduction of production’s costs through an adaptive taxation

The application of the WAEMU Common Foreign Tariff has led to the substantial decreasing of taxation pressure. In fact, the Common Foreign Tariff has considerably simplified the customs’ list of tariff leading to a considerable reduction of domestic taxation.

Since the coming to effect of the Common Foreign Tariff, the Customs’ actions which protect local industries are to be hailed. This is partly noticeable through many claims for re-categorization of some inputs that impact directly on the cost of the production.

Besides, the strict application of the Import Cyclical Tax, a complementary device of the WAEMU taxation has allowed ensuring the protection of industrial system and foil smuggling practices. Concerning the intra-community regime, the approval to the regime of Community Preferential Tax in the WAEMU and the scheme of ECOWA’s liberation of exchanges has allowed benefiting from some products of the total franchise of duties and head taxes during importation in a State member. With these privileges, many Senegalese companies have come to conquer a substantial part of the sub-regional market in terms of statistic correspond now to the main part of outlets

b - The application of minimum values

The customs’ administration applies minimum values about a limited list of products the General Council of the World Trade Organization allows, accordingly to the Decision G/C/W/488 of 16 April 2004 in order to fight effectively agaisnt fraud as far as import goods are concerned and the unfair competition that can cause disastrous threats to the spreading of companies. 

In 2006, this measure had been subjected to deferment. This has allowed Customs’ authorities keeping minimum values beyond the first time limited. By that time, the World Customs Organization’ organs had taken decisions concerning the new claim for deferment the Senegal introduced by the end of June 2007. The implementation of that decision has had some advantages in the sense that it has permitted to fight effectively agaisnt smuggled practices related to under evaluations and other forms of prices manipulation.

Nevertheless, the decision has not allowed eliminating all obvious threats which weigh on some activities. 

Thus, it is relevant to plan a strategy based on the implementation of other instruments of protection agaisnt illicit trade practices (anti-dumping measures, countervailing duties, measures of saving), accordingly to the World Trade Organization norms.

3 - The reinforcement of the effectiveness of controls and the surveillance of the Customs’ territory

a - The improvement of controlling systems

The Senegalese Customs works out for the consolidation of a system of control more matched to the exigencies of companies’ developpement, including the analysis of risk of fraud and the targeting. In fact, the establishment of an attractive economic environment can offer a great celerity in the achievements of trade operations. In that logic, the creation of  computerized system to analyze risk(“SIAR”)  at the same time goes in hand with the constitution of a data based as a tool helping for decision when there is doubt concerning the exactitude and veracity of the declared value.

For that purpose, the Customs’ administration has elaborated a new framework instruction about controls in order to avoid any superfluous customs’ repetitions. This text is composed of a set of measures and recommendations which aim at establishing a fast, rational, efficient and safe control as well at the trade operations’ level as the surveillance of Customs’ territory. This new method of control has become imperative with the economic issue to the exigencies of companies’ competiveness.  The main goal is to simplify procedures in customs’ clearance of goods.

The strengthening of the using of X-rays imaging at the port and the airport participate not only in the goals of facilitation but also that of security. This technology has brought noticeable achievements in reducing the time of goods’ immobilization and the prices of annex, relieving thus economic operators and some users by granting more flexibility in licit trade transactions.

b – The enforcement of the control of customs’ territory 

Seeing the crucial mission of the customs, public institutions have given efforts for the recruitment of employees, the bettering of technical means and the working conditions. This has been fruitful because it helps for the implementation of a strategy of controlling goods, based mainly on a nearly permanent occupation of the customs’ territory, combined with regular dialogues with economic operators. The impact of this strategy on the economic environment of companies can be explained by the seizure of more than 257 ton of sugar in 2006. These operations have allowed to bringing more transparency in the market.

B- THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE SENEGALESE  CUSTOMS’ADMINISTRATION IN THE  NATIONAL AND CIVIC DEFENSE

The Customs’ administration is helping different services. For that purpose,  this administration contributes to the protection and safety of civil people by:

-fighting against any kind of traffics, basically drugs traffic, arms traffic, animal and vegetal species threaten to disappear;

-by controlling the movement of civil or military and strategic products, that of cultural belongings, and preventing people to introduce into Senegal some dangerous products or not respecting national and community norms;

-registering some outlaw act related to the common law when controlling goods

In a word, the Customs contributes to the protection of the consumer, by making sure that regulations related to the quality and security of products are being respected. These products concern the imported industrial one, coming from abroad or the countries of the WAEMU. The Customs proceeds to the physical and documentary controls, in addition to laboratory analysis. Rigorous controls are done on the import and export operations concerning the national cultural patrimony.

In the naval domain, the Customs contributes to the protection of the sea agaisnt pollutions and control of  fishing activities by ensuring at the same time the naval surveillance

II THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE CUSTOMS’ ADMINISTRATION IN THE DEVELOPPEMENT OF CITIZENSHIP IN SENEGAL

From a judicial perspective citizenship, is a principle of judicial legitimacy. Generally, a citizen is someone who relieve from the state authority and protection, and then enjoys his civil rights and duties toward the State.

Thus the social link is established between a person and the State what make him or her capable to act freely the set of political rights attached to that quality otherwise she or he does not be private by all or part of the act by penal sanction.

The modern citizen refers to the person’s rights and duties: human rights-civil rights-political rights- social rights. This supposes the sensitization, training and merely the communication of citizens. Giving credible and updated information of people evolves in a State in order to consolidate his relations with the entity.

In such a dynamic, the Customs’ administration contributes in its domain by giving relevant information to economic actors, generally to citizens. For that purpose, some reforms have been brought for the adaptation of the customs’regulations to the needs of economic actors. Communication in this sense constitutes a mainstay but also for a council and facilitation of transactions operated by the productive sector. The intention of the Customs to inform people is stipulated in the Decree N°8381 of 25 August 2000 fixing the organization chart of the General Customs Direction. This chart organization includes the Office of Public Relations and Communication, and the Office Advisor to Companies and Facilitation.

The first Office is an important part in the communicative chain established the Customs’ service. It also links the Customs’ administration to the users, particularly companies. But the major innovation comes from the creation of the Office for Advice to Companies and facilitation. The creation of such an organ derives from the intention of customs’ authorities to form confident partnership with the private sector. From this logic, the Office for Advice to Companies and Facilitation has two main missions as far as companies are concerned:

-a mission of advice which consists of monitoring companies in the seeking of effectiveness by giving them necessary information they need, for instance giving the customs’ instruments the most adaptive ones to their needs.

-a mission concerning facilitation which in practice is represented by the proposition of measures aiming at bettering procedures and customs’ operations.

GAINDE

GAINDE or the automatic management of customs information is a strategic platform of Senegalese customs, centered on the management of customs’ clearance. "GAINDE Integral" improves considerably the way of managing procedures. Thus people move from less paper topaperless or electronic processing,known as the dematerialization. This technological revolution in the customs’ Administration aims at great feats and better service for the public.

Orbus

The ORBUS 2000 system is developed to make easier procedures of international trade by using electronic communication or exchanges. This allows interconnecting different stakeholders evolving in the international trade. The system is also based on technological infrastructure and a device of services.

The electronic payment of customs’ duties and assimilated taxes consists of giving to the economic operatorthe ability to pay the amount of customs’ duties from one’s work station, by charging an account opened in a commercial bank.