ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to connect 74 public sector departments with Pakistan Single Window (PSW), including departments of the Ministry of Defence, for clearance of goods for the purpose of imports/ exports till 2024.
“We have so far accomplished business processes of 32 different departments of public sector and all these departments will be integrated with standardized Pakistan Single Window (PSW) system till December 2023.
In the first phase, we are going to integrate five major departments including State Bank of Pakistan, Department of Plant Protection, Animal Quarantine Department, Federal Seed Certification and PSQCA.
It will be formally launched by Prime Minister in March 2022,” the Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan Single Window, Aftab Haider, said in an exclusive interview. With the integration of five major departments in the first phase, Aftab Haider said that it would connect 60 to 70 percent volume of the country’s foreign trade.
Aftab Haider, who tendered his resignation from the FBR’s Customs Service and has joined PSW as its CEO, seemed passionate about implementing the ambitious PSW by connecting all 74 departments with an online system that would ensure clearance of goods in an efficient manner without having any human discretion.
“It is estimated that the PSW system will help Pakistan save $500 million on per annum basis out of which $350 million will be saved at the import stage and $150 million at the export stage,” the CEO Aftab Haider said.
He said that the PSW Act was enacted with the approval of the Parliament and the PSW Authority was established to place rules and regulations for connecting all departments under the new system.
He said that with the placement of PSW, 29 different documents would be abolished for clearance of goods and it would require just 10 minutes for getting clearance of consignments for imports and exports.
The PSW, he said, would place a digital system and would abolish human interactions. He said that the multilateral creditors committed $67 million out of which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) $50 million, UK’s FCDO $4.5 to $5 million but so far the government had utilized its own resources to run the affairs of PSW. He said that the Goods Declarations (GDs), which were required to file for clearance of goods, were replaced with a single document having a standardized document for getting clearance.
All the departments would be connected with PSW, so everything would become transparent for ensuring hassle-free trade, he said and added that the computerized system would give an analysis that why the certain department utilized extra time for clearance of goods. He said that all ports, including Port Qasim and Gwadar Port, would be connected with PSW while 11 airports would also be connected by June 2023.
To another query about the requirement of ensuring cybersecurity, the CEO Aftab Haider said that the last cyberattack at the FBR had also impacted the PSW and it was a real and genuine concern and it should be avoided at all costs. He said that the PSW would hire cybersecurity experts and conduct open bidding for running the data center to have required expertise.
He said that South Korea, ASEAN states, Hong Kong, and Singapore are among the top countries running systems like PSW. He said that Pakistan would also cooperate with other countries after successfully implementing the PSW system all over the country and converting 100 percent trade on the online system after replacing the existing manual system.
Aftab Haider said that over 100 staff were working in PSW and many of them joined from the public sector on deputations for a few years. “Our staff is really passionate to bring about a revolution for facilitating foreign trade as the standardized system will be implemented for clearance of goods with consent and ownership of all relevant stakeholders,” he concluded.