Trade Facilitation PDF Print E-mail

Meeting of Working GroupThe Trade Facilitation Working Group (TFWG) was formed in February 2010 so as to address the key constraints significantly affecting cross border trade which resulted to a decline in the country’s World Bank’s Doing Business (DB) 2010 publication. The principal focus of the TFWG is to facilitate trade-related transactions through the simplification and harmonization of procedures, processes and information flows.

In September 2010, SLBF hired a DB consultant to facilitate reforms that would improve the country’s position in the World Bank DB report. An action plan which entails how cross border trade activities should be reformed was prepared by the consultant highlighting the tasks to be carried out in the last quarter of 2010 and challenges for 2011.

In 2010, the Working Group undertook various activities including:

  • Holding meetings with key stakeholders (customs, ports, shipping agencies, inspection agencies, NRA) at the SLBF to address the main bottlenecks hindering trading across borders resulting in delays for both importers and exporters at the ports. These meetings have resulted in the development of process maps for both importers and exporters which clearly indicate the various steps involved to import and export goods through the ports. These documents have now been finalised by the relevant parties before formal endorsement by government followed by publication;
  • Discussions on the formal way of conducting trade across borders and less so on the informal way.

Also, the introduction of the ASYCUDA ++ software by the NRA in May 2010 to electronically process documents related to customs clearance thereby streamlining customs transactions(with less paperwork and delays) by clearing agents has being implemented. These electronic processing of documents has accelerated the clearance time and simplified customs procedures leading to a reduction in time to export and import but some delays are still being experienced at the ports according to reports by users. As a measure of reform therefore, Sierra Leone sped up exporting and importing through the implementation of an electronic data interchange system. However, the streamlining of port processes needs to be intensified including coordination of Intertek, Customs and SLPA.


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