The Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) has been doing same day processing for approximately 50 to 70 per cent of documents submitted daily, thereby exceeding expectations of the online portal.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, JSWIFT Project Manager and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), André Williams said that the Trade Board Limited (TBL), which is the first agency to implement the single window, has significantly cut its processing time since beginning the pilot programme in June 2020.
“The previous service level agreement with TBL indicates a three-to-five-business-day turnaround time for processing import applications. With the current services within JSWIFT, a 24-hour response time was being targeted, but this is already being exceeded with the efforts of the officers at TBL” he noted.
“Based on the high level of same-day processing that we are seeing, they must be commended for their efforts. This is an outstanding achievement and an improvement on the original target,” Mr. Williams added.
JSWIFT is a one-stop-shop electronic system that allows traders to submit information at a single point, to fulfil all import and export regulatory requirements.
The web-based solution enables importers and exporters to apply for licences, permits, certificates and any other international trade-related documents (LPCO) through a single portal.
Since June 22, the export regime of TBL, which was previously a manual, paper-based process, has been fully automated. “The exporter can now register on JSWIFT and complete application for the export of commodities such as scrap metals, which the Trade Board would have oversight for,” Mr. Williams said.
“In July, we moved to the import phase. That has to do with the licensing of car dealers, also the importation of sugar and heavy-duty machinery, etc,” he added.
Approximately 20 agencies that are involved in cross-border trade are earmarked to be upgraded under the JSWIFT project.
TBL is the first of nine that will be upgraded in phase one, which is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2021.
The remaining phase one agencies are the Plant Quarantine and Veterinary Services divisions, and Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; the Pesticides Control Authority and the Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Affairs Division of the Ministry of Health and Wellness; the Hazardous Substances Regulatory Authority, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; and JCA, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. Eleven agencies will be upgraded in phase 2, which is scheduled for completion in 2022.
JSWIFT serves as a means of improving connectivity, thereby facilitating the exchange of information between traders, customs offices and other border regulatory agencies (BRAs).
The JCA is the lead implementing agency for JSWIFT.