Once the NSW system is implemented, it will enhance trade operations by eliminating paper work and reducing time through maintaining up-to-date information
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) UKAID, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel to launch the National Single Window (NSW)– a virtual platform for businesses.
To improve its international trading performance, Bangladesh has committed to develop, own, and operate a National Single Window with support from the World Bank Group under the Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project 1 with a Customs Modernization and NSW Implementation component amounting to $74.1 million.
Once the NSW system is implemented, it will enhance trade operations by eliminating paper work and reducing time through maintaining up-to-date information.
The National Single Window will deliver a user-friendly, electronic system that streamlines and automates procedures for international trade related permits, licenses, certificates, and customs declarations. It will connect 39 Ministries and Agencies of the Bangladesh Government.
Minister of Finance, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, attended the signing ceremony as the chief guest where he said: “For trade and investment, support from NBR and related agencies is crucial. This agreement will help facilitate better communication between various ministries and agencies and help improve the path to progress.”
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said: “Customs modernization alone cannot bring the expected results in trade facilitation. Through this NSW, Bangladesh will be connected to international trade. It will be considered a milestone in the use of information technology in business.”
Chairman of NBR, Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, said efficiency in international trade is a priority for the private sector. “Bangladesh scored 34.9 in Distance to Frontier for Trading Across Borders (DB, 2018), far below the South Asia regional average of 57.8 and its neighbors like Sri Lanka (70.7), India (56.5), and Pakistan (38.1).
“The National Single Window for trade will benefit 319,000 Bangladeshi traders by reducing time and cost of trading in the fifth year of operation. The average processing time for imports is expected to be reduced to 122 hours and the average processing time for exports is expected to be reduced to 88 hours.”
He also highlighted the need for all agencies to work together to fulfill regularity requirements to reduce unnecessary costs of business.
Senior Economist of International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group, Dr M Masrur Reaz, thanked NBR for organizing this event following two years of preparatory work.
The Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund – implemented by the IFC and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) - is providing technical assistance to NBR to make the system effective and sustainable.
President of FBCCI, Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), and National Board of Revenue and National Single Window Project Director, Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman, were also present at the ceremony.