Electronic Single Window Report Due Next Week

The single window system will target the easing of regulatory obligations for import, export and transit clearance

Consultants hired by the World Bank will finalise a business process re-engineering (BPR) report for the design and implementation of an Electronic Single Window (ESW) by the end of next week. This window will be used by a number of government entities, including the Ethiopian Revenues amp Customs Authority (ERCA).

The consultants, were hired in January by the International Financial Corporation (IFC) – the financial arm of the WB – to work closely with government agencies and ministries in optimising and modernising business processes related to the issuances of permits and licenses.

The reengineering process is preceding the installation of the ESW system, which is aimed at providing a single electronic point of access for traders to lodge all trade related information and discharge all regulatory obligations for import, export and transit clearance.

Other government bodies where the system will be implemented include the Food, Medicine amp Health Care Administration amp Control Authority (FMHACA), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Communication amp Information Technology (MoCIT), the Ethiopian Shipping Lines amp Logistics Service Enterprise (ESLSE) and the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). Processes in these institutions are all currently predominantly paper-based, according to the study presented by the consultants on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, during a workshop on the ESW at the Sheraton Addis Hotel.

Paper processes have remained unchanged for several years and represent a hindrance to trade, the consultants said. The fees for services, though relatively modest, involve high transaction cost and are often cash-based. Other hindrances, according to the consultants, included the unavailability of a national trade transaction overview and the non-existence of cross-agency procedures, as well as duplicate roles among several agencies.

The consultants have developed new business processes and procedures to leverage automation through the ESW based on a harmonised data set and common procedures, reflecting risk based approaches to compliance.

The new procedures will result in the significant reduction of paper-based procedures and enable all traders to access documents from their premises, thus eliminating visits to ministries, said Christer Andersson, one of the consultants.

Consultants discussed their findings and recommendations with the ministries and agencies on April 3 and 4, 2014. Preparation of a final draft of the BPR report, including process mapping, proposed revised objectives and proposed reengineered processes, is expected to be finalised by the end of next week.

Electronic import-export processes have to apply global standards that are locally adapted.

“Local realities are vital,” Andersson said. “Global standards can only be maintained so long as they are married to local realities.”

The proper implementation of the system enables local exporters to be competent in international markets and also makes imported goods affordable to local consumers, Andersson said.

The Investment Climate Fund has provided 4.3 million out of the total project cost of 7.3 million dollars the World Bank’s IFC has provided another 600,000 dollars, with the balance coming from the government of Ethiopia.

The ERCA floated an international tender on March 30, 2014, for the supply and implementation of the ESW. The tender, which will close on April 16, 2014, has invited international vendors for the system that includes facilitation of e-payments, digital certificates and the monitoring of transactions, according to Nigussie Seid, project manager of the ESW at the Authority.

This is not the first time for the Authority to invite qualified vendors for the installation of the ESW system. The first time was a year ago, but it was cancelled because the process took longer than three months – the minimum period according to the public procurement and tender requirements – says Melesew Hailemariam, communications officer at the Authority.

“This time tender process will be finalised within the three-month deadline,” Melesew told Fortune.

Authorities at the ERCA declined to disclose the price offered by the previous international vendor that qualified in the earlier tender.

Source : Addis Fortune

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