The Ethiopian electronic-single window service program announced Thursday that through the implementation of the program for almost a year, it has reduced an administrative cost amounting $70 million.
The old manual system was made physical appearance of the client mandatory. It also used to duplicate processes.
Previously, burdensome documentary requirements, high levels of physical inspection of imports, lack of coordination among border agencies coupled with low levels of automation and an uncompetitive trade logistics sector raise the costs of doing business and limit opportunities to trade, according to Robel Tesfaye, Program Director for the Ethiopian Single Window Service Program.
“Besides saving-time, we have reduced $70 million, which would likely to be spending in administrative, transport and logistics as well as other documentary requirement processes,” he said.
The initiative was first introduced in 2015. Developing the portal and other preparatory procedural activities took five years and the first official implementation was launched by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) in January 2020.
The project office of the new system, which is located at the headquarters of the Ministry of Revenues, started taking on the load of customers from the banks. The project office gives two services of creating a username and password for traders to be registered in the system and processing application permits for exporters and importers.
The E-service platform has been administered under a ministerial steering committee consists of Ministry of Revenue and the officials at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Applicants have been getting services through the online portal of the program. The single window system has been implemented in a target easing of regulatory obligations for import, export and transit clearance.
The portal connects 55 regulatory agencies, including banks and insurance companies, enables traders to submit documentation and receive electronic import and export permits through a single-window submission.
The system was launched this January, but it became mandatory for traders as of July 8, 2020.
Ethiopia has among the highest logistics costs in the world, — which retard 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, shortages of foreign currency which prolongs import times, and delays in obtaining and processing trade documents, according to the World Bank.