Single window system for trade to be operationalised by year-end – Min. Walrond

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond announced Monday that the single window system for trade will be operationalised by the end of this year.

The minister was at the time speaking in support of the Single Window for Planning and Development Bill, which was being debated during the 63rd Sitting of the National Assembly.

“That project is well underway and we expect that electronic Single Window to be operational by the end of this year,” Minister Walrond informed the house.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond

The implementation of a single window system for trade will facilitate the integration of the procedures and information criteria of 14 agencies involved in the import/export process.

“In the same way that the Central Housing and Planning Authority is the central entity for the Planning and Development Single Window, so too will the Guyana Revenue Authority be the central entity in the Single Window for Trade,” the minister explained.

She further stated that the single window for trade system involves the electronic automation of processes as well as the streamlining of these processes.

The objective, Minister Walrond underscored, is to maximise efficiency and benefit the clients of the system.

“It is amongst the foremost reasons for our embarking on this and other related initiatives. It is part of our thrust to modernise the state and it stands alongside a number of other initiatives aimed at this modernisation objective,” she affirmed.

The national e-ID project is another essential component of the government’s modernisation thrust.

Minister Walrond explained that citizens who are enrolled in the electronic system will be able to use various online government services, including the planning and trade single windows, without having to go through duplicate registration processes.

The national approach will also eliminate the need to provide personal information repeatedly at every government agency when conducting business transactions.

Once equipped with the e-ID, a registrant would be able to automatically be enrolled for any government service or programme for which they qualified.

These include obtaining driver’s licences, passports, national insurance benefits, and government pensions, among others.

“Access to all of these services would be enabled for qualified applicants simply by tendering one’s electronic ID and this includes services offered through the Electronic Single Windows,” she said.

To support this new development, the government will be presenting the Data Protection Bill to the National Assembly shortly.  The bill will provide a framework to secure sensitive information relating to citizens.

Also imminent is the tabling of an Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill.

Minister Walrond stated that the bill is an omnibus one, covering a number of areas

including making provisions for digital signatures, electronic records, electronic contracts, and electronic payments.

“This bill will provide a comprehensive framework for all manner of transactions to be effected via electronic means and will provide for online commerce to feature the same legal protections and recourse that obtain in the offline environment,” she further explained.

With the implementation of these key pieces of legislation, and the government’s efforts to facilitate universal affordable access to the internet, Minister Walrond said the aim is to create a comprehensive digital ecosystem that will enable citizens to fully benefit from all the advantages the 21st-century technology has to offer.