An assessment of the effectiveness of automation as an information technology intervention in curbing customs administrative challenges: a case of ZIMRA
Mpumela, Nokuthula Tania
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The dissertation sought to assess the effectiveness of automation in curbing customs administrative challenges in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA). The research objectives were to identify the customs administrative challenges faced by ZIMRA, identify areas where automation has succeeded as an IT intervention in curbing customs administrative challenges in ZIMRA, ascertain areas where automation has failed as an IT intervention in curbing customs administrative challenges in ZIMRA and to find out what challenges impede the effectiveness of automated systems. The scope of the study was to focus on ASYCUDA which is the automated systems that is used by ZIMRA in customs administration. Literature review was carried out on the topic under study which revealed the strides that ASYCUDA has made in curbing customs administrative challenges. There was however a gap in the literature on the limitations of ASYCUDA as an automated system. A qualitative research was undertaken and a case study of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was used. Primary data was obtained using interviews and secondary data in the form of reports, customs journals, periodicals and publications was used. A total of seventeen respondents were interviewed, ten being managers from the Customs division whilst the other seven comprised of clearing agents. The respondents were selected using purposive sampling. The respondents from ZIMRA were selected based on their work experience, expertise and knowledge in the area under study whilst clearing agents were selected based on the size of their companies with regard to their clientele base. Data were analysed through data reduction, coding, categorization and identification of common themes. The study revealed that ZIMRA faced ten challenges and that ASYCUDA has been effective in curbing eight of these challenges. It was therefore concluded that ASYCUDA has been effective in curbing customs administrative challenges in ZIMRA. The study also identified challenges that impede the effectiveness of ASYCUDA in curbing customs administrative challenges. Recommendations were therefore made in line with these findings as to how these challenges can be addressed in order to effectively utilise ASYCUDA.