Guyana’s ease of doing business to improve with the Implementation of a Single Windows System (SWS) – Ministry of Business

The implementation and full usage of the Single Windows System or Single Windows Automated Processing System (SWAPS) stands to benefit the business community and country as a whole according to the Ministry of Business. These benefits include: reduced transaction costs and time; enhanced trade compliance; greater cargo through-put (movement of good through the production process); improved levels of security; increased revenue collection and better risk management. It is also seen as a mechanism to reduce corruption as it limits human intervention in certain trade transactions.

At his first budget presentation in 2015, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin signaled his intention to move ahead with this project. In 2012, an international development company, Crown Agents, was contracted to undertake preparatory work for the introduction of a Single Window System to enhance trade.  The final report was presented to the then government in June 2013, however, the recommendations were not implemented.

The Ministry of Business is championing this project and has appointed a steering committee comprising of Kim Stephen (Ministry of Business), Komal Singh (Private Sector), Sese Jones (Guyana Revenue Authority), Andrew Astwood (Shipping Association of Guyana) and Francis Simmons (Ministry of Public Telecommunication), Sheranne Isaacs (Ministry of Finance), and Nicola Namdeo (Ministry of Business) to oversee the implementation of SWAPS in Guyana.

Funding for the project is being sought from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). In August of this year the Bank hired a consultant to conduct a review of all documents and reports associated with the project as well as to evaluate the cost of the project. The CDB is currently reviewing the consultant’s draft report, meanwhile another appraisal mission is planned for the week of October 17, 2016.

The Ministry of Business views this project as one that will improve Guyana’s competitiveness and contribute to improvement in its ranking on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index and is keen to see it realised.

Once funding has been approved, the project is expected to begin in 2017, however, its benefits will only be realized after full implementation (approximately 2 years after).