The new electronic single window system, launched Wednesday in Kigali, will facilitate international trade by speeding up and simplifying information flows between traders and government institutions.
“Rwanda being a land locked country, the need to introduce simplified systems that facilitate trade is more important, as this will create a conducive investment climate thus attracting more investments and economic growth,” the Minister of Trade, Francois Kanimbla, said at the launch.
The Minister explained that the system takes less time to process and handle information between different stakeholders involved to clear goods.
The over US$ 3.33milliom project, the first of its kind in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, is a web page that links government clearing agencies and traders.
The system will be using ASYCUDA world, a combination of customs management system and integrated border management system developed by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
It is in line with the international best practices and provisions of GATT 1994 and the Revised Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures of 1990, ratified by Rwanda in 2010.
Ben Kagarama Bahizi, Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority asserted that the new system would reduce the cost of doing business.
“I am optimistic that effective implementation of electronic single window system will also reduce the cost of doing business due to online clearance and simplified procedures,” he said.
Four government agencies, including Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Bureau of Standards, MAGERWA and the Ministry of Health are already connected to the system now in its piloting phase, while more will be added at a later stage, according to Kagarama.
Mark Priestley, the Country Director for Trade Mark East Africa, predicted that with the new system, traders could save up to US$9 million a year due to improved transparency and accountability in the goods clearing chain.