In a significant stride towards enhancing trade facilitation and economic reform, Nigeria has officially launched the Time Release Study (TRS) initiative, joining the ranks of leading global economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and several others.
The launch, which took place in Lagos on Thursday marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s commitment to streamlining customs operations and fostering a conducive environment for international trade.
The ceremony, graced by representatives from various government agencies and key stakeholders, saw the Minister of Finance; Mr Wale Edun, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Lydia Shehu Jafiya, delivered an address highlighting the significance of the TRS initiative.
Emphasizing its alignment with the Federal Government’s renewed hope agenda, she underscored President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to driving economic recovery and fostering a business-friendly environment.
“The Comptroller General of Customs has informed me that TRS is a WCO tool used internationally for harmonizing the various processes and procedures involved in Customs clearance.
“TRS falls within the domain of the Federal Government renewed hope agenda which demonstrates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to unleash full economic recovery for the country.
“TRS also redefines the best approaches to creating an enabling environment for businesses in addition to providing excellent services for economic cooperation.
“A conducive port environment is crucial for the facilitation of international trade. Efficient Customs processes are paramount for achieving cost-effective goods clearance and indeed assuring us of efficiency in the system.
“It is against this background that I welcome the idea behind the introduction of TRS. I have acknowledged that it works. Of the truth, TRS will ultimately cluster with a business environment that is friendly.
“Several countries in Europe, US and Asia, Middle East and Latin America have adopted TRS, recognizing its significance in enhancing trade facilitation.
“So for Nigeria to be left behind in the global world of development, we need to key into this initiative.
“I want to encourage all the stakeholders in the port to rally around the Customs to ensure the success of the TRS. For us to achieve this objective, there must be synergy among all stakeholders
The Customs Service, led by the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of adopting international best practices to promote trade growth.
Adeniyi emphasized the role of TRS in providing comprehensive insights into customs operations’ efficiency, thus contributing to national development goals.
The TRS methodology, developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), offers a systematic approach to measuring the total duration of time from goods’ arrival at the customs border to their release.
He highlighted that the data-driven enables stakeholders to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies accurately, thereby enhancing trade efficiency and promoting economic development.
Reflecting on Nigeria’s previous attempts to conduct TRS exercises, Adeniyi acknowledged the challenges faced due to lack of collaboration among relevant agencies. However, he expressed optimism about the current initiative, leveraging lessons learned from past experiences to ensure success.
He noted that the revitalization of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) and extensive stakeholder engagements underscored the commitment to collaboration and transparency in the implementation of TRS.
In addition to TRS, the CGC informed that the NCS is deploying various initiatives such as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme, Advanced Ruling, and establishing a Customs Laboratory to further enhance trade facilitation and revenue generation.
Adeniyi concluded that as Nigeria embarks on this journey to modernize customs operations and improve trade facilitation, the launch of TRS represents a significant milestone in the country’s quest for economic growth and development.
He said with a renewed commitment to collaboration, innovation, and strategic measures, Nigeria is poised to optimize trade efficiency and promote transparent trade practices for the benefit of all stakeholders.