Doing business in Trinidad and Tobago will soon be faster and more efficient, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath has said.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's on Thursday, Bharath said Cabinet approved $39 million for the completion of the Single Electronic Window (SEW) over a four-year period.
Bharath said that in the Customs and Excise Division there was the Asycuda system—a computerised Customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures.
"I have to be brutally frank here, since 2009 these two organisations have not been able to get together and really integrate," said Bharath.
He said he held meetings with the Comptroller of Customs and ministry officials and was given the assurance that both systems will be integrated by September 15.
So what will this mean?
Bharath pointed to a World Bank study which stated that it took up to 19 days for containers, whether exported or imported, to be cleared in Trinidad.
"Once this system is integrated, that process will take one day," said Bharath.
He said a number of models under the SEW have been implemented.
This has sped up the timeframe in getting things done.
He said e-company registration has reduced the processing time for registering a company from seven days to three days.
The time for processing work permits, he said, was reduced from six weeks to two and a half weeks.
Applications for import licences which are required through the Food Production Ministry were reduced from four weeks to one day.
Assessing fiscal incentives through the Trade Ministry was reduced from six weeks to 11 days.