Nicaragua: Importers’ Perceptions of Customs Procedures, 1997

Similar to the Customs services portion of the 1995 Service Delivery Survey but much expanded in its coverage and the number of indicators used, this study questioned 634 importers, taking their most recent experience with the Customs service as point of reference. Some 37% of importers reported having to pay “incentives” over and above legal tarriffs and fees. It takes an average of 6 days from the arrival of goods to their handover to the importers. The latter consider that this should not require more than 2 days. Merchandise was reported lost in one of every ten transactions. The importers blame Customs personnel for these losses. Improvements in Customs services in the past year were perceived by 30% of the importers and 93% were in favour of simplification of procedures. This study was conducted in May 1997, commisioned and paid for by the Nicaraguan Government.