• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Customs launches Advance Ruling system to reduce costs, expedite clearance processes

Customs launches advance ruling system to reduce costs, expedite clearance processes

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has launched the Advance Ruling System, aimed at predictability and transparency in customs procedures, streamlining trade processes and minimising delays, uncertainties, and costs associated with customs clearance.

Advance Ruling is a critical mechanism that allows traders to obtain binding decisions from customs administrations on the classification, origin, and valuation of goods before importation.

This tool is essential for promoting trade facilitation, reducing compliance costs, and fostering a conducive business environment and both the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognise it as significant in facilitating international trade and promoting customs compliance.

At its launch on Thursday in Abuja during a stakeholders engagement, Bashir Adeniyi, Comptroller General of the NCS, highlighted its critical benefits but regretted that the path towards its implementation has been fraught with challenges and setbacks, as previous attempts.

He said the absence of the mechanism has implications beyond Trade Facilitation, as it also impacts on customs revenue.

“In 2020, we initiated a scoping mission to review our processes and align them with global best practices. This

He said that the successful relaunch of Advanced Ruling was an outcome of a comprehensive review of customs processes which began in 2020 and yielded valuable recommendations.

“The launch of Advanced Ruling at this time aligns with the policy directive of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to facilitate trade for legitimate traders. This is reflected in the Policy Advisory Document of the government, which highlights recent achievements, such as the approval to decongest the ports and
make them free and accessible for importers and operators”, he added.

He further said that the implementation of Advance Ruling is timely, given the significant number of disputes the Service has had to handle between 2020 and 2023.

He informed that out of the 34 disputes encountered, 31 have been resolved, while 3 cases remain pending. Additionally, despite the absence of a structured mechanism, a total of 296 requests for Tariff opinions were received, with 266 processed and 30 pending.

The CG recalled that the NCS is projected to collect an “ambitious” total revenue of N5.07 trillion for the fiscal year 2024, but said the target is attainable with the right measures and mechanisms in place.

“That’s why we are implementing several strategies to enhance our capacity to achieve this feat. The early results have been positive, and we expect to build on these initiatives, including ensuring stakeholder engagement and involvement every step of the way,” he added.