– forging ahead with Single WindowIn light of the emerging oil and gas sector, Guyana is expecting an influx of investors and as such, Government is looking to make the regulation process easier and less time-consuming for import and export activities by implementing the Electronic Single Window (ESW).The Single Window is a global platform that facilitates standardised information from State agencies on trade and transport so as to expedite the regulatory process.A section of the gathering at the ESW workshopIn efforts to get Guyana onto the facility, the Business Ministry in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Wednesday hosted a workshop to identify and analyse conceptual models, challenges for implementation and global best practice for an Electronic Single Window here.It is expected that the information exchanged during the one-day seminar will lead to a determination of the best model for ESW development in Guyana. Currently, the model adopted by Trinidad and Tobago is the option being touted for Guyana.IDB’s Integration and Trade Lead Specialist, Mario Umana, pointed out that while there are a couple of Single Windows operating right now in the Caribbean, the twin islands had the most leading and more mature facility. As such, representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Trinidad were invited to offer their experiences.IDB’s Integration and Trade Lead Specialist Mario Umana“We thought that was important because Trinidad is very close to Guyana, same region, similar challenges so we believe that we have the opportunity to learn a lot from their experience,” explained the Integration and Trade Specialist.However, during the discussions, Finance Minister Winston Jordan observed that while subscribing onto the ESW will reduce the time taken to process trade documentations, it will not in any way improve or impact Guyana’s ranking on the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’.Guyana ranked 126 in the 2018 Report on Ease of Doing Business, while Trinidad and Tobago 102 out of a total of 190. To this end, the Finance Minister pointed out that Guyana will have to look at dissecting the indices and see where it can improve its ranking.This point was also recognised by the Trinidadian representative, who explained that despite having joined the Single Window system, Trinidad still records now ranking. This, he noted, is because the criteria used to determine these indices changes every year and are not accurately reflective of a country’s situation.Meanwhile, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin addressing the gathering at the workshop highlighted the importance of having an infrastructure such as the Single Window to compete in the global market.“This initiative is a key element in the Ministry of Business’ Strategic Plan. We understand the impact that the Electronic Single Window system will have on businesses operating in Guyana, we also understand the consequences of not keeping up with the rest of the world when it comes to improving the way that we do business. The global market place is competitive and we will not be able to compete if we cannot effectively facilitate trade and other transaction,” he stated.Furthermore, the IDB Lead Specialist went on to outline that the Single Window facility will have a significant impact on improving Guyana’s trade and a key component in making it work is collaboration.“The key word is collaboration and collaboration is a challenge in itself because typically in Government… and in almost anything we’re trying to do, we’re used to being comfortable in our own turf and with these projects, it’s a little bit the opposite,” Umana noted.Among the stakeholders in the project are the Guyana Revenue Authority, Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), the Business Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Private Sector.While Guyana is now forging ahead with the implementation of the Single Window, it has done ground work back in 2009 when United Kingdom-based Crown Agents conducted a consultancy survey on the implementation of the Single Window in Guyana.The company had recommended, among other things, that Guyana look at a draft Single Window legislation and establish specific rules for data-sharing between Government and the Private Sector.IDB is facilitating the implementation of the Electronic Singh Window and with funding from South Korea, will be hosting a series of activities. This includes Wednesday’s workshop which was held under theme: “Designing and implementing Electronic Single Window in Latin America and the Caribbean: Defining a Path for Guyana”.