A project to bring in a national single window (NSW) system in Maldives will transform international trade, customs procedures, and ease of doing business, while helping it integrate within the region, a workshop heard today.
The NSW consultation workshop, organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development, gathered government and private stakeholders to review the progress on preparatory work and discuss the next steps. Participants also shared knowledge and experience on the implementation of the NSW system.
ADB is supporting the Government of Maldives to establish a NSW. This is in line with the operational priorities for trade facilitation under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program, which Maldives joined in 2014.
“The NSW project is important in improving the enabling environment on trade procedures, which are currently facing many operational inefficiencies,” said Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Economic Development, in his opening remarks. The Commissioner General of Customs, Ibrahim Shareef Mohamed, emphasised the need for a NSW in Maldives, in order to benefit traders and to attract foreign investors.
Ronald Butiong, Director of ADB’s South Asia Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, affirmed ADB’s commitment to fully support the implementation of the NSW project. “The project will greatly benefit not only the Government of Maldives but more importantly its people through a modern and effective customs administration, streamlined and transparent business regulations and procedures, and improved merchandise trade of the private sector including small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
The NSW will leverage information and communication technology to provide online access to carry out border control procedures. This will enable traders and other service providers to exchange electronic forms and documents, thereby eliminating the need for physical displacement and enabling Maldives to adopt a paperless cross-border trading environment. In addition, automated processing across stakeholder systems will be enabled by the exchange of harmonised data. The NSW environment will thus provide for a much more efficient set of standardized and transparent international trade procedures, enhanced border control, and more readily available data on trade flows.
Apart from the Ministry of Economic Development, the main agencies involved in the NSW implementation in Maldives are the Maldives Customs Service, Maldives Food and Drug Authority, Ministry of Defense and National Security, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives Monetary Authority, Maldives Airports Company Limited, and Maldives Ports Limited. The NSW project is expected to begin implementation in mid-2019.