President of Guyana Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali recently announced that the country will soon create an Electronic Single Window for Trade in order to improve trade facilitation and the ease of doing business.
While addressing stakeholders at the third American Chambers of Commerce of Guyana (AmCham) Annual General Meeting last Friday, Dr Ali pointed out that the new system will reduce time and cost, simplify trade procedures, and eliminate duplication and redundancies.
“Instead of an importer having to visit six agencies for permits and approvals, all the documentation will be submitted at a single window, which will them be shared with the respective agencies,” the president said.
He added that the implementation of the Electronic Single Window for Trade forms part of his Administration’s schedule of programmes to assist the business community.
Referring to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 report, which saw Guyana two-slt slipping two places down in 2019, relative to 2014, Dr Ali highlighted that the areas that needed improvement are the processing of construction permits, registration of property, and the payment of taxes.
In an effort to reverse that decline, the president has directed the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce to spearhead new policies. Furthermore, the ministry will also collaborate with other ministries and agencies to streamline measures to improve business development. These include procedures relating to business start-ups, payment of taxes, obtaining electricity, and approving construction permits.
The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Recommendation 33 lists the Single Window for Trade 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 import, export, and transit-related regulation.”
President Ali also promised that his Government will ensure that investors’ applications and requests are facilitated more promptly. To this end, the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) is undergoing a restructuring exercise that will enable it to attract and facilitate investment and export promotion. This, he said, is part of his Government’s agenda of improving the ease of doing business.