ISLAMABAD   -  The Steering Committee on Thursday, under chair of Finance Minister Asad Umar, approved key decisions for enabling the FBR’s Customs Wing to ensure timely implementation of the ‘National Single Window’ system in Pakistan.

The system would emerge as the overarching umbrella for automating public sector entities dealing with cross border trade providing an integrated single interface with private sector to carry out imports, exports and transit trade. This will substantially improve Pakistan’s ranking in ‘Ease of doing business’ besides enabling Pakistan to comply with its commitment under the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the WTO.

The National Single Window to be known as ‘WinPak’ (Window

Pakistan) will help to develop the country’s initiative for its electronic logistics platform, which the finance minister said should be done within the next three years.

‘WinPak’ will link all key cross border trade related regulatory authorities including Customs WeBOC on a single ICT based platform. The connected government approach will improve transparency and predictability in imports and exports while cutting down costs/time, both for public and private sectors. The much needed port community system will also be established to improve efficiency of sea and airports in Pakistan under this project. Not only Government to Government (G2G) and Business to Government transactions will take place on this new platform but it will also facilitate all Business to Business (B2B) transactions.

Meanwhile FBR has held a wide-ranging, interactive session with the stakeholders, including representatives from the World Bank, to develop and implement a track and trace system for the tobacco products.

The deliberations were made as part of a workshop arranged by FBR and attended by representatives of the cigarette industry, IT solutions providers and enforcement officers of FBR. The participants of the workshop unanimously agreed to welcome the new proposed track and trace system if it was implemented across the board in its true sprit by adopting a fair and transparent process.

Earlier, the Director General (BTB) FBR Islamabad briefed the participants on the purpose and scope of the track and trace system and invited the participants of offer their input and suggestions to make whole process fair and transparent. Project Director, Track & Trace System (T&TS) FBR also briefed the participants in detail on the concerns and observations of the stakeholders and regulatory authorities on the track & trace system.

Addressing the workshop, representatives of leading tobacco manufacturing companies operating in Pakistan expressed their concerns about cost-effectiveness of the track and trace project while the IT solution providers called for a generic RFP as a non-specific or restrictive RFP limited the scope of a level-playing field necessary for all potential bidders to participate in the bidding process.