GIS - 20 November 2014: A three-day Second Single Window and World Customs Organisation (WCO) Data Model workshop organised at the initiative of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) in collaboration with the WCO opened on November 18 at Le Meridien Hotel, Balaclava.
The workshop is being attended by both local and foreign participants from: Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles, Burundi and South Africa. It is serving as platform for the participants to share information and experiences as well as best international practices about the development of a Single Window Environment.
In Mauritius, the Single Window initiative started in 1994 through the implementation of the Trade Net. The phased implementation was completed in 2006 and has since been under continuous development to meet international best practices and recommendations.
The Single Window is linked with various trade facilitation initiatives, which are in line with the Revised Kyoto Convention and the SAFE Framework of Standards, including simplified procedures, automated cargo release, standard and electronic messaging, advance submission of data, effective risk management and developed post audit controls.
In his address on the occasion, the Director General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, enumerated some of the benefits of the Single Window namely; improved clearance time, increased transparency and accountability of actions, effective risk management and electronic messaging with the trade community. According to him, these have helped reduce considerably the element of physical call at Customs and the long queuing lines at counters, electronic payment facility, standardised and harmonised data requirements which allows for sharing of information.
He further announced that a National Single Window is currently being developed which will take on board all other Government Agencies (OGA) involved in the international movement of goods. This portal, he added, aims at providing an online, web-based facility for traders to submit applications for import and export licenses while enabling them to submit permits and receive clearance from OGAs without replication of data entry.
Customs being in operation in a very dynamic and highly complex environment, there are high expectations from stakeholders of Customs Administrations worldwide to reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate legitimate trade while concurrently securing the supply chain and enforcing Customs laws at borders efficiently and effectively, he concluded.