Higher levels of efficiency and transparency, greater revenue collection and improvements in domestic trade facilitation and trade logistics, are just some of the benefits of the Barbados Electronic Single Window (ESW), which is expected to be completed on January 25, 2017.
This disclosure came from Project Coordinator of the Barbados Competitiveness Programme, Terry Bascombe, who said the ESW was expected to profoundly transform the nature of private sector/public sector relations and interface.
He added that it should therefore be seen as a tool for promoting good e-governance in Barbados.
Mr. Bascombe stated during a press conference Thursday: ???The most immediate and direct benefits will accrue to traders, who stand to gain significantly from the anticipated improvement in the supply chain associated with the importation of goods into and exportation of goods out of Barbados.???
An electronic single window is an environment that facilitates the electronic submission of standardised international trade and transport-related documents to a single point.
The Barbados ESW, which is being implemented by A-T Solutions, a US-based firm owned by the PAE conglomerate, will provide a single online interface for the exchange of trade-related documents between the trading community and relevant regulatory agencies.
The Project Coordinator explained that within this environment, all transacting parties would be able to fulfil their import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements online from anywhere, once they have internet connection.
???Duplication of entry will be eliminated as entries need only to be submitted once. ESWs are known to have improved trade facilitation and trade logistics in many countries worldwide, including our neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago,??? he noted.
He pointed out that ESW environments were usually supported by a trade document management system (TDMS) and disclosed that one would be developed, which would track, manage and store inside the ESW, the digital version of all paper-based documents.
He added that the TDMS, which should be completed in June this year, together with the ESW, would pave the way for a paradigm shift from a paper-filled to a paperless trading environment.
“At present, the number of all import and export-related paper documents total in excess of 190. Since the start of the programme, all of the paper documents produced by Barbados??? government agencies have been converted to an electronic form and are being integrated into the ESW.
???On-going business re-engineering efforts will reduce the number of these electronic forms even further by the programme???s completion. Ultimately, making these forms electronic eliminates the need for the physical distribution of over 30,000 trade-related licences, permits and certificates. This will generate cost savings to the private and public sectors in Barbados,??? he disclosed.
More than 30 stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as the trade unions, are involved in the ESW. They include the Ministries of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resources; Finance and Economic Affairs; Health; Home Affairs; and Tourism and International Transport; as well as the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Barbados Brokers and Clerks Association, the Barbados Shipping Association and the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association.