• Yuliya Malieieva & Reed Collins

Risk-Based Approach Improves Efficiency and Revenue at Dili Port


The USAID-Timor-Leste Customs Reform Project (CRP) has helped the Customs Authority develop and implement a new risk management procedure, which has shown measurable results:

  • the number of physical inspections undertaken by customs at Dili Seaport was reduced by around 80%.

  • the average time to import goods through Dili Seaport decreased from 9 days in 2017 (when CRP commenced) to just 2.24 days in 2020[1]. This cut represents a 75% reduction in time.

This risk-based approach has led to increases in the amount of revenue being collected, as fewer overall inspections mean staff can now properly examine higher-risk consignments. For example, following CRP support and mentoring, customs identified that consignments of reusable lighters were commonly being undervalued by nearly 10 times their real cost, and sandals were being undervalued by over 3 times. With customs applying appropriate penalties, data shows that these types of consignments are now being declared with the correct types of values.

The strategies and trainings employed by CRP with their GOTL counterparts are making the Customs agency more efficient in processing and collecting revenue, helping the country weather the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a decrease of 33% reduction in goods processed through Dili Seaport compared to 2017, there was only a 4% reduction in revenue collected. In part this is due to the project’s ability to increase the average revenue collected per declaration (DAU) by 43%, from $4,444 to $6,340 between 2018/2019[2] and 2019/2020[3]. Whether it is the speed of goods processing or revenue generation, the IBI implemented USAID-Timor-Leste Customs Reform Project continues to show measurable positive impact.

[1] Data for the period of July 2020 - September 2020 [2] Data for the period of June 2018- May 2019 [3] Data for the period of June 2019- May 2020

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