Malta's membership of the EU required a major reform to upgrade and modernise the whole Department of Customs. A Business Change Management Project was undertaken and all the requirements have been rapidly met in accordance with the objectives of the Project, thanks to the exceptional commitment of staff. Through this ambitious Project we have managed and we will continue with our efforts to simplify relations with customers, to streamline procedures, to maximise compliance with fiscal obligations, to raise awareness among the concerned persons of the importance of customs and customs policy, to develop transparency in the administrative action, communication, dissemination of information by providing training activities and raising awareness at all levels.
The Department of Customs is a service department forming part of the Ministry of Finance and is one of the oldest serving Government Departments. The overall aims of the Department are to collect the relevant revenues by minimising burdens for traders as economically, efficiently and effectively as possible, to employ all the available personnel encouraging them to reach their full potential and to develop staff skills. We are responsible for the control of imports and exports of goods. We are aware that more simplified procedures, clear information, courtesy and professionalism in the work are essential tools to improve relations with customers, to build an image of an organisation really at the service of citizens and trade in order to better meet their needs and to facilitate trade. The large increase in world trade has put an additional burden on Customs in its role of controlling illicit trade.
In accordance with the said goals, the Department of Customs has implemented the Business Change Management Project to improve practices in line with the modern administrative principles especially those prevailing in the EU. Our organisation is consistent with and comparable to that of other customs institutions working in most of EU Member States. Our Department has at the same time placed great emphasis on the integrity with which it pursues it's goals in compliance with the principles of legality, transparency and fairness of action but at the same time we ensure more rapid and efficient controls without useless bureaucratic and procedural ties.
Maltese Customs has an ancient history and we are heirs to that. Throughout our organisation's existence Maltese Customs has always performed important tasks to provide essential services to traders and consumers and to facilitate trade. We control the quality and quantity of goods and their movement by means of generally valid and acknowledged controls, examinations and certifications. The word customs (dwana) stems from the Arab word diwan, the comfortable sofa where all the most important public and private business was transacted in Islamic countries - this witnesses the international and universal vocation of customs activity.