The Ministry of Industry and Trade is optimistic the National Single Window (NSW) programme—a one-stop electronic platform for exchanging information between traders and government agencies—would help reduce trade transaction costs.
In response to a questionnaire, the ministry’s spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said once operational, NSM would substantially reduce the cost of doing business as well as time taken to get approvals.
He said the programme would reduce corruption as most approvals would be granted by the systems, thereby reducing the influence of the human interface.
Such a development, Nkombezi said, would improve Malawi’s rankings on various doing business indices.
“The general the purpose of NSW is to introduce a better trade facilitation environment and to reduce trade deal costs. The business objectives of NSW, among others, are to reduce administration burdens, undertake coordinated inspection and enhance risk-based governance,” he said.
The Malawi government approved the NSW programme on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model after which Ministry of Trade and Industry went ahead to put in place itsimplementation structures, including a steering committee comprising key trade facilitation institutions and a technical working group.
According to Nkombezi, the expected budget to roll out NSW is between $8 and 9 million which was a constraint until a World Bank mission came in and identified resources for the development in Malawi.
He said the mission would conduct an assessment after which it would advise and recommend the most feasible model to the government as well as resource the building and construction of NSW.
“The release of the resources will follow the normal processes on how Malawi accesses resources for the World Bank which is through Parliament where the members will have to approve a bill authorising the government to access the resources before the bank can release the funds,” he said.
Nkombezi also expressed optimism with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) customs management system migration from Asycuda ++ to Asycuda World.
He said with Asycuda World, MRA would reduce the clearance time and the cost of doing business through the use of simplified business processes.
“The use of the new innovation will entail fast and efficient cargo clearance even through SMS and email notifications. However, the rest of the goals will be attained once the whole system has been fully implemented,” he said.
A World Bank Doing Business (DB) report released last week indicated that Malawi improved its ranking, jumping three steps to 141 from last year’s 144.
The report gave Malawi a score of 51.03 out of 100 for 2015 compared to 49.74 for 2016 rankings.