From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday, launched a trade facilitation scheme, named the ‘Advance Ruling System’, to enhance transparency  in its dealings with stakeholders.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Bashir Adeniyi, while speaking at the event, said the initiative, which is a collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), is a critical mechanism that allows traders to obtain binding decisions from Customs administrations on the classification, origin and valuation of goods before importation.

Adeniyi stated that that the initiative will also serve as a tool for reducing compliance costs and fostering a conducive business environment for traders.  He stated that the project aligns with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and relevant in facilitating both domestic and international trade.

“Today, we shall be taking the first step towards launching the Nigeria Customs Service Advance Ruling, starting with stakeholder engagement. According to the WCO and the WTO, Advanced Ruling enhances predictability and transparency in customs procedures, streamlining trade processes and minimising delays, uncertainties, and costs associated with Customs clearance,” he said.

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The CGC, while commending President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for  taking steps to boost lthe economy of the country, and for supporting the Service, said the  launch of “Advanced Ruling”  at this time aligns with the policy directive of the present administration to facilitate trade for legitimate traders.

“This is reflected in the Policy Advisory Document of the government, which signifies recent achievements, such as the approval to decongest the ports and make them free and accessible for importers and operators.”

“It is essential to acknowledge that initiatives like Advanced Ruling necessitate investments in capacity building for both officers and stakeholders. We are committed to leveraging our internal capacity while exploring collaboration opportunities with external partners like GIZ, “ he stated.

Furthermore, Adeniyi  noted  that the Service has made all arrangements to conduct workshops and sensitisation sessions at Customs Area Commands to ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed and prepared to utilise the new mechanism effectively.