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Customs unveils initiative to ease cargo clearance, boost trade in Nigeria



Mr Adewale Adeniyi, the Comptroller-General of Customs, has unveiled its Time Release Study service, TRS, an initiative to streamline cargo clearance and boost trade enhancement in Nigeria.

Adeniyi revealed this at Thursday’s launch of the World Customs Organisation (WCO)-Assisted Time Release Study in Lagos.

He explained that TRS is a globally acknowledged tool devised by the World Customs Organisation to facilitate the clearance process of goods from arrival until their physical release.

According to Adeniyi, in 2010, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, underwent an extensive TRS facilitated by the USAID MARKETS Project, concentrating on the Apapa Port and Seme Border.

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He noted that approximately 20 overarching recommendations emerged, encompassing initiatives such as establishing an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, introducing a single window system, procuring extra cargo handling equipment, and undertaking infrastructure repairs at the ports, among others.

Adeniyi further explained that a second endeavour was made in 2018, albeit unsuccessful, primarily due to inadequate collaboration among the pertinent agencies involved.

“Today’s exercise builds on the lessons learned from both the 2010 and 2018 attempts.

“We have made significant progress since then, including the implementation of paperless clearance and advancements in our AEO programmes.

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“Provisions under the new Customs Act now speak to the imposition of penalties to deter non-compliance.

“Today, we are joining other Customs Administrations in the world that have embraced the tools developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to promote the growth of international trade.

“The WCO remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing customs procedures through various instruments and tools, such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

“Among these initiatives is the Time Release Study (TRS), developed to provide comprehensive insights into customs operations’ efficiency as the TRS in Nigeria, starting with TINCAN ISLAND Port, serving as the pilot location.

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“The TRS method is a systematic and standardised approach used to measure the total duration of time from the arrival of goods at the customs border until their release,” Adeniyi said.