Cabinet approves National Single Window Initiative

01 Feb 2014 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 01 FEB (NAMPA) – Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Single Window Initiative (NSWI) and designated the Ministry of Trade and Industry to spearhead the initiative.
Cabinet took the decision at its 16th Ordinary Meeting which took place on 15 October 2013, according to a media statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology on Friday.
The National Single Window System is a new and innovative approach to border processing and clearance which will improve the competitiveness of cross-border trade in Namibia. ‘Single Window’ is defined as a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.
The initiative will further enhance Namibia’s trading across border index, another of the trade facilitation tools which is complementary to the doing business index, and serves as a key tool measuring cross-border performance.
According to the statement, Cabinet approved the establishment of a national steering committee at Permanent Secretary level and supporting technical working groups to drive the Single Window initiative.
Cabinet also approved the appointment of a consultant by the lead agency to do the cost and benefit analysis and advise on the model that could be considered appropriate for Namibia’s training environment.
Namibia is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in line with the WTO requirement to reduce regulatory inefficiencies; WTO members have initiated a Single Window initiative.
The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UNCEFACT) adopted its Recommendation 33 – establishing a Single Window to Enhance the Efficient Exchange of Information between Trade and Government in 2005. The principal focus is on facilitating national and international transactions through the simplification and harmonisation of processes, procedures and information flows to contribute to the growth of global commerce.
“The type of transformation does not take place overnight, but is a protracted process which involves several initiatives. The essential elements of such an initiative would include a number of preconditions that need to be in place to launch a Single Window programme,” it stressed. This among others will include a clear and unambiguous mandate from government; a strong business case based on a pragmatic assessment of risks, challenges and capabilities; agreement on governance structures, including which agency to lead the initiative with clear roles and responsibilities for all key stakeholders, obligations and accountabilities for success; and a work programme with key milestones matched by appropriate human and financial resources.
The establishment of the Single Window will be linked to the establishment of one-stop border posts in order to achieve competitiveness locally, and to streamline and accelerate trade in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The statement says from the assessment of the information and the experience of those countries already implementing the Single Window Initiative, including those in the Southern African region such as Mozambique, it is evident that Namibia can only benefit from adopting such a system.