The Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, has launched the Time Release Study service (TRS) as part of an initiative to streamline cargo clearance processes and boost trade facilitation in Nigeria.
Adeniyi announced the unveiling of TRS during the launch of the World Customs Organisation (WCO)-Assisted Time Release Study in Lagos. TRS is a globally recognized tool developed by the World Customs Organisation to facilitate the efficient clearance of goods from their arrival until their physical release.
In 2010, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) underwent an extensive TRS facilitated by the USAID MARKETS Project, focusing on the Apapa Port and Seme Border. This led to the emergence of approximately 20 key recommendations, including the establishment of an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program, the introduction of a single window system, procurement of additional cargo handling equipment, and infrastructure repairs at the ports, among other initiatives.
A second attempt was made in 2018 but was unsuccessful due to inadequate collaboration among relevant agencies involved. The current TRS initiative builds upon the lessons learned from both the 2010 and 2018 efforts. Significant progress has been made since then, including the implementation of paperless clearance procedures and advancements in AEO programs. The new Customs Act also includes provisions for imposing penalties to deter non-compliance.
By adopting tools developed by the World Customs Organisation, Nigeria’s Customs Administration aims to align with other customs administrations worldwide that promote international trade growth. The WCO is committed 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).
The TRS initiative in Nigeria will begin with the pilot location of TINCAN ISLAND Port and aims to provide comprehensive insights into the efficiency of customs operations. The TRS method follows a systematic and standardized approach to measure the total duration of time from the arrival of goods at the customs border until their release. This will help identify areas for improvement and optimize cargo clearance processes, ultimately enhancing trade facilitation in the country.