ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Single Window (PSW) will implement two new major systems, i.e., Port Community System at Karachi, Gwadar, and Port Qasim for speedy clearance of vessels/ port processes and Airport Community System at all airports to digitally connect all functions/ services at the airports.
In an exclusive talk with Business Recorder at the PSW Headquarters, Syed Aftab Haider, chief executive officer of the Pakistan Single Window Company stated that 69,000 users including importers and exporters are effectively utilising the paperless facility of the PSW with the integration of many government departments including banks. The number of users is expected to reach 80,000 to bring all importers/ exporters under the PSW facility.
The level of facilitation to the importers/exporters is evident from the PSW business reforms where 46 documents were eliminated, 145 documents were replaced with electronic submission, 83 documents were replaced with electronic verification, and 111 processes have been re-engineered.
According to World Bank estimates, full implementation of the PSW system will result in direct savings of US $430 million to the national economy in terms of reduction in costs for documentary and border compliances.
The chief executive officer of the Pakistan Single Window Company is responsible for the development, implementation, operations and maintenance of the PSW system.
The CEO of the PSW Company said that the first phase of the Port Community System will be launched in September 2023 to digitise all processes of ports under a single window. All port-related work such as payments, health, immigration, customs, FIA etc and vessels clearance processes would be done under this new system.
The Airport Community System will digitally connect freight forwarders, ground handling agents, airlines, and couriers. The implementation of the ACS will reduce 80,000 documents per year.
Haider explained that the PSW is working on a plan to revise the whole transit trade regime applicable for different countries. Instead of different transit trade regimes for different countries, there should be a uniform cross-border trade procedure to facilitate traders under the transit regime. A study through the international consultant would streamline the whole transit system. Safeguards would be put to check smuggling and incidents of dropping of consignments through the transit system routes.
Haider stated that the PSW is connected with the “China International Trade Single Window” for future integration and exchange of data between Pakistan and China, eliminating chances of under-invoicing of the imported goods. Haider stated that PSW is connected with the “China International Trade Single Window” for the integration of international data. “Technically, the PSW and China Single Window are connected and modalities are being finalised to specify the nature of data to be shared with each other.
Integration between the two single windows will expand the scope of the current data exchange to include full transmission of the Goods Declaration data, phyto-sanitary certificates, certificates of origin, and shipping and logistics data to enable execution of advanced risk management techniques and expeditious clearance of goods.
This would be done through customs agreement between the two countries. The sharing of customs data on a regular basis would eliminate any possibility of under-invoicing of Chinese goods.
As we are connected with China; we are in the process of implementing data sharing agreements with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The data connectivity with these countries would be established during the current year, he maintained.
He stated that the single window does not only automate existing processes but also conducts an extensive business process reengineering exercise to eliminate redundant documents and processes. Under the system all trade-related documents are being standardised and made QR code enabled. Moreover, information requirements are also being harmonised.
In addition to digitising customs and other government agencies, the PSW programme also covers the port community systems, trade information portals, B2B transactions, digital payments etc to cover the entire supply chain.
He stated that the PSW has been fully integrated with banks. Other departments integrated with the PSW include Department of Plant Protection, Animal Quarantine Department, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority, Marine Fisheries Department; Sindh Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control Department; Pakistan Mercantile Marine Department, and Export Development Fund. During current year, the rollout of the DRAP has already started.
The integration of large organisations would be done in a phase-wise manner. The integration with the DRAP, TDAP, Board of Investment (BOI), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and the Ministry of Interior will be carried out during the current year.
The importers are free to use any of the notified pre-inspection companies and treatment providers companies for agriculture imports and exports would also be digitised.
The actual impact of the single window is evident from the fact that the trader’s physical visits to the banks and other integrated departments has been totally eliminated, he said.
Being part of a global effort to facilitate cross-border trade, the PSW has an international dimension. It successfully integrated with Trade Lanes owned by IBM/ Maersk and has established electronic connectivity with China Single Window for exchange of trade-related data. Similar projects are currently in progress with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Egypt.
Such integrations will help get authentic, reliable data from the source to improve compliance with customs and trade laws in Pakistan and to counter under-invoicing, trade-based money laundering and mis-declaration, Haider added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023