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WCO supports Malawi in strengthening its internal capacity for Time Release Study

13 septiembre 2017

In pursuance of the WCO National Mercator Plan for Malawi, designed to provide sustainable, tailor-made and results-based capacity building support to enable effective implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the WCO organized a 5-day training workshop to strengthen Malawi Revenue Authority’s capacities in the area of Time Release Study (TRS). The workshop was held in Lilongwe from 28th August to 01st September 2017 and was delivered in the framework of the WCO-HMRC-UNCTAD Project.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority Mrs Roza Mbilizi , stressed that Malawi is interested in conducting TRS as Malawi wants to identify bottlenecks and trade facilitation opportunities in the clearance process and aims to build and maintain effective operational procedures that are carried out by Customs and other actors in the processing of imports, exports and transit movements of goods. The periodic use of the TRS methodology will be important in positioning Malawi Customs as a constructive leader in coordinated border management discussions.

The officers from different functional areas of Customs from inland ports, airports and land border posts, representatives of trade bodies, Customs brokers, Malawi Bureau of Standards,  Ministry of Industry, Trade & Tourism, Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC), Immigration, Police Service, Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association of Malawi, Pharmacy, Medicine & Poisons Board officials participated in the Workshop. The WCO TRS Training Workshop aimed at enhancing the internal local capacity of all stakeholders concerned with import-export from all government agencies, private sector , trade partners, commercial operators, logistics operators etc. in Malawi so that they can conduct a TRS in the country on their own.

The WCO Experts presented the various instruments, tools and best practices developed by the WCO to assist its members to build capacity and to further the trade facilitation agenda. Among other, the participants were briefly introduced to the Revised Kyoto Convention, SAFE Frame work of Standards, Single Window, Data Model, Coordinated Border Management and Time Release Study. Experts explained the TRS concept and the whole TRS exercise from the stage of setting up a working group, processes involved and outcome of the study, supported by case studies from different countries, highlighting bottlenecks identified and the trade facilitation initiatives taken based on TRS recommendations. In addition, the WCO experts facilitated workshop participants to learn the techniques of Business Process Mapping and Analysis through theoretical sessions and through a practical walkthrough of the whole clearance operations at the Lilongwe Inland Examination Centre and Bollore Container Depot.

All participants having been well versed in the WCO TRS methodology in this workshop expressed their desire to conduct a national TRS for cargo, starting from the stage of arrival of truck/container at Land Border Posts up to Inland Stations and the Container depots. To carry forward this recommendation, the participants also prepared a Business Process Map and a draft Work Plan for considering necessary action in the direction of conducting the TRS. They also recommended that all stakeholders concerned with import-export from all government agencies, private sector, trade partners, commercial operators, logistics operators etc. should be involved in the conduct of proposed future TRS and that the TRS analysis can be used for implementation of Single Window in Malawi.

The keen interest shown by the participants in the Workshop reflected their appreciation for the WCO TRS tool and its role in stakeholder engagement, coordinated border management and conceptualization of Single Window. The WCO training workshop on TRS significantly enhanced the capacity of the participants from government agencies and private stakeholders to use TRS as a tool to rationalize border operations and to strengthen data analysis capacities for informed decision-making at policy, technical and operational levels.