GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday May 16, 2019 – People and businesses involved in trade and transport can expect an improved “ease of doing business” in Guyana.
This follows yesterday’s passage of the Customs and Trade Single Window System Bill 2019 which provides for a single submission of documents electronically for fees, levies, duties, and taxes due to the government on goods which are imported or exported.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan who presented the Bill in the National Assembly, explained that the legislation allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and document with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.
There are currently 20 ministries and departments that deal with import and export in Guyana. The majority of these agencies are paper-driven and the system is costly and time-consuming.
“International trade requires [the provision of information] and documents through customs and other regulatory agencies in compliance with laws and regulations….In Guyana, information is submitted and processed numerous times through Customs and other entities, be it on paper, automated or both,” Jordan noted.
He said while there was an attempt to implement the new system under the former administration, no progress was made up to 2015.
Recognizing the importance of such legislation, Jordan said, the coalition government resuscitated the project when it took office.
To date, the government has been able to secure a loan of US$6 million to aid the implementation of the Single-Window System.
The project will be implemented in phases. Phase One deals with modernizing the regulatory environment. The Cabinet also approved the establishment of a steering committee comprising the main border regulatory agencies. The committee is chaired by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Business.
The GRA will be responsible for the management of the system and will define the expected roles, responsibilities and obligations of all agencies that will be involved in providing legal and technical assistance with its creation and operation.
The agency will have to adopt relevant internationally accepted standards, procedures, documents, technical details and formalities for the effective implementation of the single-window system.
Processes and technical aspects of the system will conform to the principles of transparency in relations to procedures being undertaken through the system; security of trade date information exchange, simplicity and accessibility, confidentiality and privacy, reality, trust and consistency and efficiency.