Nigeria Customs Service well-equipped to implement TRS in Nigeria -  CGC
From left to right - Mrs Lydia Jafiya, Rep. Minister of Finance, CGC, Comptroller Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, the  Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Doris Uzoka-Anite,, Akutah Pius, CEO NSC, Rep. Minister of  Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola

By: Bisi Akingbade

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has said that the service is well equipped to implement the Time Release Study, TRS, in the county to reduce cargo clearance and facilitate trade in Nigeria.

Adeniyi made the disclosure during the Launching of the World Customs Organisation, WCO, Assisted  Time Release Study in Lagos  today

According to him, TRS is a strategic and internationally recognised tool developed by the World Customs Organisation for the clearance of goods from arrival until the physical release of cargo. 

Adeniyi said that in 2010, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) underwent a comprehensive TRS, conducted by the USAID MARKETS Project, focusing on the Apapa Port and Seme Border.

He said that some 20  cross-cutting recommendations were made, including the development of an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme, implementation of a Single Window system, purchase of additional cargo handling equipment, infrastructure repairs at the ports among others.

 He said that a  second attempt was made in 2018 to conduct another TRS exercise, adding that it was unsuccessful due to the lack of proper collaboration among the relevant agencies.

 "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 programs.

" 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 Organization (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. 

"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.

He explained that TRS initiative represented a critical step in our ongoing efforts to optimise the trading experience and customs operations in Nigeria. 

Adeniyi said for implementation of TRS, the NCS was deploying the AEO programme, Advanced Ruling, and establishing a Customs Laboratory as part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate trade and improve government revenue. 

Earlier, the Secretary -General WOC, Mr Lan Saunders, noted that the fulfillment of TRS was based on the WCO methodology.

He said that it would  enabled Nigeria to comply with the requirement of Articie 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, TFA. 

"The TFA encourages WTO members to measure and publish their average release time of goods periodically and consistently. 

"TRS is being conducted as a diagnostic to find bottlenecks in the trade flow process factually and to take necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures by reducing clearance time. 

"TRS is an instrument with which Customs and other government agencies, along with private sector stakeholders, can measure the cross-border flow process related to imports, exports, and transit movement of goods periodically," Saunders said.

He highlighted some of the benefits of TRS  to include: improving and strengthening the efficiency of Customs administrations and other government agencies, allows Customs and other stakeholders to explore synergies. 

He said that other benefits were :Creating a better conditions for accelerating the international movement of cargo subject to import, export, transit, or any other Customs regime related to the clearance and release of cargo. 

Saunders in a Zoom presentation said that TRS would also Leads to improving the Country's international Competitiveness in the global market as well as collaborating with stakeholders to enhance the supply chain.

The Minister of Finance , Mr Wale Edun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Lydia Jafiya, said that implementation of the TRS would foster a business friendly environment whereby several countries in Europe and America would be a attracted to bring cargo to Nigeria.

Edun seeks stakeholders collaboration in achieving success in the implementation of the TRS which would reduce time of doing cargo clearance and trade facilitation.

The  Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Doris Uzoka-Anite, commended the NCE for the 
fantastic initiatives geared towards enhancing trade and  ease of doing
business in Nigeria.

"I am absolutely confident they will be a great success and
Nigeria will reap their benefit through sustained economic growth in the coming
years," she said.

Uzoka-Anite said that she was inspired to do more to facilitate trade and
increased Nigeria’s trade volume, she also she encouraged stakeholders to join her in the business.

She said that effective trade facilitation required efficient coordination
across the entire supply chain.

She added that the approach required careful planning and
collaboration across a wide number of government departments and agencies
as well as close cooperation with the private sector.

Uzoka Anite said " I  wish to announce that we will Re-launch and Revitalise the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) where the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, the Nigerian Customs Service, and many other MDAs will work alongside the private sector to effectively plan and implement more successful trade facilitation reforms that will continually increase our trade volume year on year,"

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