‘Single Window System Leads to Efficient Trading Regimes in Africa’

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Minister Tarpeh with glasses in picture with Mor Talla Diop with red tie, AAEC vice president for Promotion along with participants from various countries

-AAEC vice president Soputamit asserts

The vice president for Administration at the Alliance for Electronics Commerce (AAEC), Matthew Soputamit says International trade remains one of the most driving forces of economies, noting that single window system will lead to efficient trading regimes in African nations.

Mr. Soputamit made the remarks yesterday in Monrovia during the kickoff of a 2-day workshop intended to raise awareness of single window implementation, which brought together several participants from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia.

Mr. Soputamit said if the continent is to wean itself off of aid and benevolence of donors, it will be achieved through trade. It is therefore important to have very efficient trading regimes in African countries in order for the continent to gain momentum in global trade.

According to Mr. Soputamit, the better tool to achieve this will be through the single window system, adding, “Our main objective is to develop high-performing Single Windows in Africa.”

He said the two-day conference will look into the best practices of Single Window implementation in Africa as outlined in various publications and the AACE guide.

“With the financial support of the UNECA through the ATPC, the AAEC has published a guide for single window implementation. Through the development and publication of this Guide, countries willing to establish a Single Window project can have a reference and a knowledge base on the best practices in terms of Single Windows in Africa,” he said.

He said the workshop in Liberia is the first in the second phase of a series of workshops the AAEC organized in 2013, in Niger, Egypt, Burundi, Uganda and Botswana.

For this year, Mr. Soputamit said, AAEC intends to organize six (6) of such workshops in all the different economic regions of the continent.

Mr. Soputamit added with the support of the UN ECA and the ATPC initiative, we held the constituent General Assembly in 2009, in Addis Ababa where the organization was officially birthed.

The single-window system is a trade facilitation idea. As such, the implementation of a single window system enables international (cross-border) traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location and or single entity.

Minister Wilson K. Tarpeh, who officially opened the workshop, said Liberia remains grateful to collaborating partners who have come to raise awareness and help develop a roadmap on an issue at the nerve of Trade Facilitation and Doing Business in the commerce of Liberia.

Minister Tarpeh noted that the workshop is being convened at a time the Government of Liberia is evolving policies and programs that will reduce poverty under its Pro-Poor Agenda.

“I cannot underestimate the importance of the implementation of Single Window in Liberia as it allows parties involved in trade and logistics to lodge documents with a single entry point to fulfill import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements (UN/CEFACT’s Recommendation 33) he said.

According to him, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement Article 12, sub-section 4.1, encourages members to establish or maintain a single window, enabling traders to submit documentation and/or data requirements for importation, exportation, or transit of goods through a single entry point to the participating authorities or agencies.

“The benefits, thereof, go across all spheres in the economy. The importer and exporter will benefit from the reduction in number of days require for the clearance of goods, through a more transparent and predictable process. It increases customs revenue through controlled working environment, while the Commercial banks benefit through the increase in customers, and increase in the amount of funds passing through bank operations,” Minister Tarpeh said.

He said implementing the National Single Window will entail addressing a lot of issues; including the legal regulatory environment, hard and soft infrastructure, and institutional framework among others.

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