Managing Director at Customs Reform and Trade Facilitation Consultants, Bert Cunningham.
Cunningham on ESW
WITH the introduction of the Electronic Single Window (ESW), not only should Barbados’ level of competitiveness be vastly improved, but also the island’s overall standard of living.
Managing Director at Customs Reform and Trade Facilitation Consultants, Bert Cunningham, outlined that there were several benefits to introducing the ESW, noting that it would decrease trade transaction costs, reduce cargo dwell time, and allow for the online tracking of applications, licenses and permits.
The ESW allows all parties involved in trade to lodge standardised information, whether data or documents, through a single entry point related to import/export transit and other government agency requirements.
Using Singapore and Mauritius as examples, he illustrated that their success in the global arena was due to the ESW, which allowed for paperless customs manifests and licenses/ certificates, e-payment of all duties, taxes, fees and charges.
Pointing out that Barbados had a stellar ranking for a Caribbean country in the Human Development Index, and in the banking system reports, he however said that it was woefully performing in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, ranking at 119 out of 189 countries and in the category of trading across borders, 127th out of the 189.
Cunningham suggested that the ESW could turn this around, as long as there was strong political will to push the system across various the government agencies.
“This is how Barbados needs to improve,” he said.
Deputy Project Co-ordinator of the Barbados Competitiveness Programme, Delano Scantlebury, said that the ESW facility was expected by all stakeholders “to profoundly transform the nature of private/public sector relations and interface, and should therefore be seen fundamentally as a tool for promoting good e-governance in the country”.
“However, the most immediate and direct benefits of the facility will accrue to traders, who stand to gain significantly from the anticipated improvements within the trade in goods supply chain,” he stated, while addressing the ESW Train-the-Trainer Session at the Barbados Investment Development Corporation office at #2 Harbour Road Industrial Park. (JMB)