Timor-Leste’s Private Sector Saves Millions with USAID Project Support

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What difference has our investment made? With USAID support since 2017, the Customs Authority has modernized its processes, resulting in $38 million savings for the private sector
With USAID support, modernized customs processes in Timor-Leste save the private sector millions.
USAID Customs Reform Project

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

DILI, Timor-Leste – Streamlined procedures across government agencies initiated by Timor-Leste’s Customs Authority with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have since 2017 saved an estimated $38 million by cutting out costly consignment import delays.

With support from the USAID Customs Reform Project, international traders have been able to save over 190,000 days that they would previously have wasted trying to import or export their goods. Working on the basis that a trader loses around $200 per day for every day their consignment is delayed, this equates to overall savings of $38 million.

This is one of many outcomes of the USAID assistance, which started in June 2017 at the request of the Government of Timor-Leste and completed in September. With day-to-day guidance and training, the Customs Authority has modernized through  streamlined processes, better integration with other government agencies, increased staff integrity and transparency, and aligned its operations with laws and international standards. The Customs Authority has also launched a National Custom Hotline, which enables citizens to report information freely and securely, and a modern Customs Trade Portal, which provides users with easy online access to trade-related information.

“Through this important project, USAID has helped the Customs Authority to become a more efficient, transparent, and professional organization,” said Acting Customs Authority Commissioner Jose Abilio.

By modernizing how goods are processed, the Customs Authority has reduced import times by 65 percent and export times by 74 percent since 2017. Records also show that integrating several other government agencies within the import clearance procedure in July 2020 resulted in nearly 3,000 fewer consignments by government officials.

“Despite Timor-Leste facing significant challenges over the last two years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the floods that followed Cyclone Seroja, the project team has stood by their Customs Authority counterparts and helped keep major ports operating, ensuring that life-saving medical equipment and other critical supplies could continue to arrive into the country,” said acting USAID Mission Director Harold Carey. “This is yet one more important contribution we are pleased to make and further our partnership with the government and people of Timor-Leste.”  

Find more information by visiting the Customs Trade Portal here: www.customs.gov.tl

Read the USAID end-of-project report here.

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For more information, contact the USAID/Timor-Leste Communications team: diliusaiddocs@usaid.gov

Last updated: October 13, 2021

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