A financial package encompassing 11 million US dollars has been approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Their objective is to introduce a single electronic platform to the Maldives to enhance the speed and efficiency of cross-border control processes using the latest technologies.
Mr Masato Nakane, a Senior Economist of ADB said, “The project will establish a national single window that can reduce the delays and lower the costs associated with the clearance of goods while maintaining the needed controls over fees and duties in import or exports.” He added that with this project the trade with major trading partners such as India and Sri Lanka will be improved.
The Maldivian economy is highly dependant upon the import of food, fuel, and other goods and exports of mainly fresh fish and other fish related products. However, it lacks some trade facilitation indicators. For instance, the cost of documentary compliance per export transaction of Maldives, $300 is exceedingly higher than that South Asian average of $180.
Trade flows in the Maldives are limited by different bottlenecks that trigger delays and negatively impact company expenses of traders. These include relying on paper-based processing, overlapping and redundant paper specifications, long shipping processes including restricted screening capabilities, and under-use of ICT technologies.
As a resolution, The National Trade Facilitation Committee was formed by the government to promote international trade, including the introduction of a national single window through a presidential decree issued in September 2015. The national single window will standardize data and documents at a single entry stage to meet all statutory demands related to imports and exports.
The government will provide $1.9 million to the project which is estimated to cost a total of $11.99 million. The project’s completion state is estimated to be at the end of June 2023.
The establishment of the national window is in line with Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, the countries grouped as the operational priorities for trade facilitation under the South Asia Subregional economic cooperation (SASEC) program.
While they continue their efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Asia and the Pacific in the near future.