Electronic Single Window saves Ethiopia 70 million dollar

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Robel Tesfaye, Program Director of Ethiopian Electronics Single Window Program Office (Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Ethiopia saves around 70 million dollar from Jan 4, 2020 up to now by using the Electronic Single Window (ESW) program.
As part of the government’s commitment to improve investment and trade, the Ethiopian Customs Commission developed an electronic single window (ESW) for trade with the help of the World Bank Group.
The platform that will enhance efficiency in the trade logistics landscape of the country by speeding the customs process for importers and exporters was described by Robel Tesfaye, Program Director of Ethiopian Electronics Single Window Program Office, as system that has been able to minimize import release time from 44 day to about 12 days.
“We are able to reduce time to process a single permit from 30 days to 2.5 days and 55 autonomous organizations out of 73 expected organizations are able to process traders’ permit requests using our system,” elaborated Robel.
According to Robel, by making the procedure predictable and reachable by deploying new technologies, the E-service has spared the traders from wasting their time saving the country 70 million dollar within one and half years.
The Ethiopian Electronic Single Window is a program office that is aimed to conduct various single window related projects, which consists of 6 complementary projects, namely: The Ethiopian Electronic Single Window Software project – Phase I, The Advancement Software project, Software Consultancy, Network Infrastructure and Data Center Development project, Integrated Cyber Security Consultancy Project, The Ethiopian Electronic Single Window Software project – Phase II, and the EDF 11 – Trade Facilitation project.
Ethiopia is among the countries with the highest logistics costs in the world which retards growth of export-driven light manufacturing and agriculture. High trade costs can be attributed to various constraints, including a state monopoly on key logistics services, regulatory restrictions and low levels of key logistics services, amongst shortages of foreign currency which prolongs import times. Moreover, delays in obtaining and processing trade documents are a great contributor to the delay.
To address these challenges, the government introduced new procedures and approaches to conduct customs operations as part of its multi-pronged approach that includes improving regulations, processes, and practices that was burdensome to private businesses and addressing the investment climate issues that have been holding back investment and productivity growth.
“Basically, Electronic Single Window is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements,” said Robel.
The Electronic Single Window system is aimed to simplify an international trade business that would eventually have the following benefits: Enhance import and export service by cutting time and cost to trade. It is aimed to minimize the import release time from 44 days to 3 days in the full-fledged implementation of all projects at large and it is aimed to reach from 44 to 15 days in the operation of the first phase project implementation in particular. In addition it will bring forth visibility, predictability and ease of use to both regulatory agencies and traders with respect to processing an international trade service. It seeks to maximize national revenue by encouraging manufacturing sector and revenue collection through streamlined import and export processes, enhance global competiveness with respect to ease of doing business and logistics performance to attract foreign investment. Likewise, it aims to enhance good governance by reducing corruption perception rate and by maximizing customer satisfaction.
According to Robel, more than 381,000 online trader-related requested have been process so far. 19 banks including the National Bank and 18 insurance companies are serving traders through the system. He further stated more than 19,400 traders are using the system to lodge their trade related request to regulatory organizations.
“We launched the Ethiopia Electronic Single Window Service a key technology that will enhance cost effectiveness and efficiency in trade logistics landscape of Ethiopia,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, on January 25, 2020 launching the project, adding, “By creating a paperless environment, eliminating multiple physical inspections and repetitive document submissions, it will help to reduce compliance costs for traders by an estimated 50%.”