GAMBIA TO GET SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM
The Gambia will soon launch the long anticipated single window system, an integrated customs management system that will address complex issues in the areas of importation and clearance of goods and facilitate international trade.
The system will also address several difficulties encountered by stakeholders in the international trade process.
The single-window system or single-window concept is a trade facilitation concept which allows an international (cross-border) trader to submit information to a single agency, rather than having to deal with multiple agencies in multiple locations to obtain the necessary papers, permits, and clearances to complete their import or export processes.
The system, to be implemented by Ghana Link Network Services Ltd (Ghana Link) in partnership with NICK TC Scan Gambia Ltd and a Korean company, is currently in use in Ghana where it has proven to be effective.
Speaking at a meeting attended by government ministries and agencies, importers, clearing and shipping agents organised to give update on the implementation of the system, the GRA deputy director of MTMS and manager of the National Single Window System Implementation Musa Saidykhan, said the single window system is expected to reduce the difficulties faced by importation and clearing of cargoes.
“There is an obvious time saving benefit to the single window system and the concept is recognised by organisations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and its Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), World Customs Organisation (WCO), the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” he said.
Mr Saidykhan said currently, to import cargo into this country one would need permits from several agencies requiring the person to run from one agency to another to acquire those permits. “But with the coming of the single window system. that would be significantly reduced if not eliminated at all,” Saidykhan said.
He added that the service will also address the lack of coordination between government and other agencies.
“It will bring all these agencies under one roof as well as eliminate the manual process that keeps the process very complex. So, where we don’t have systems at all we will integrate their process into the Single Window and where we have systems like GRA we will interface with the GRA system so that GRA will do their internal process but it will be talking to the Single Window,” he said.
Mr Saidykhan disclosed that the current import proceeding procedure in The Gambia involves several government agencies, each with their own procedures and requirements.
‘This makes the process complex and time-consuming, which can cause delays and increase costs for businesses. It will also address the issue of limited access to information and provides a centralised platform for all stakeholders involved in the international trade process. It streamlines the process by allowing stakeholders to submit all necessary documentation and information in one place, reducing the need for multiple submissions and simplifying the process,” Saidykhan said.
According to Mr Saidykhan the single window system ensures that all stakeholders have access to the same information, which increases transparency and accountability in the trade process.
“This helps to prevent fraudulent activities and reduces the likelihood of errors or discrepancies in the trade documents. It also ensures that all trade-related documents are compliant with national and international regulations, which reduces the risk of penalties or legal issues for businesses and cost-saving,” he added.
He said the implementation of a Single Window System in The Gambia is a key step towards improving the country’s trade environment, promoting economic growth and development, and enhancing its competitiveness in the regional and global markets.
The Ghana Link Network Services representative Chris said the project implementation process will start soon.
“The system is reliable and costs effective,” he said.Source: The Standard