Terry Bascombe, Project Coordinator of the Barbados Competitiveness Programme, speaking with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler (right) at yesterday's launch.
Benefits abound from Electronic Single Window, says Minister
Multiple benefits are expected to be derived from the newly launched Barbados Electronic Single Window (BESW).
That’s according to the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, who told those attending the BESW launch at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday, that on the receiving end of those multiple gains will
be both Government and the private sector.
However, he warned that while the expected benefits of the BESW – which will facilitate the electronic submission of standardised international trade and transport-related documents to a single point for processing and approval – are promising, it is unrealistic to expect instant results just from the implementation of that technology-driven reform.
In fact, he contended that the pace at which benefits evolve is normally influenced by other factors, including the existence of other complementary reforms; change management and leadership; the degree of user-receptivity; and supporting institutional infrastructure, and it is no different with the BESW.
Meanwhile, referring specifically to the benefits expected to come from the BESW, he said that Government should see an improved e-government and e-governance infrastructure; enhanced collection of taxes, duties and penalties; higher levels of efficiency and transparency; and increased conformity to regulations, including international trade treaties, and improvements in regulatory enforcement.
Additionally, he said the Government should see improved relations with the private sector community, a reduction in the incidence of corruption as well as more accurate and timely trade-related statistics.
In respect of the players in the private or non-government sector, he said they should benefit from enhanced levels of predictability; faster clearance of goods and improved transparency in the operations of regulatory agencies. Moreover, he said they should spend less time travelling between government regulatory agencies to fulfil their trade-related obligations; see lower trade-related transaction costs, including demurrage; and he said, also benefit from improved an ability to classify goods and satisfy regulatory filings.
The Minister spoke to the benefits, as he added that they are putting together resources to guarantee that the BESW will be able to effectively communicate with the recently implemented Customs software, ASYCUDA World. Sinckler said this communication will be operationalised through eight interfaces, which he explained will allow both systems to send to, and pull information from each other regarding the issue and status of documents submitted by traders.
“For example, ASYCUDA World will be able to send information to the BESW regarding new and cancelled declarations by traders. Similarly, the BESW will be able to send information to ASYCUDA World regarding new licence applications, approvals, updates and revocations. Such conveniences should go a long way towards promoting interagency collaborations involving Customs and government regulatory agencies,” he said.
The minister added, “A major interface will, on one hand, allow ASYCUDA World to send a notice to the BESW informing regulatory agencies that a release order has been granted by Customs, thereby allowing regulatory agencies to avoid unnecessary processing and to reallocate scarce resources elsewhere. On the other hand, Customs will receive from regulatory agencies any interim or final decisions regarding a declaration.”
He said the latter provision will allow Customs to direct traders to the specific regulatory agency to seek assistance with the clearing of their goods, and traders will be able to ascertain the status of their declarations from the BESW. (JRT)