Muhamad Al Azhari
As parts of its effort to boost international trade efficiency, the government on Tuesday launched the third phase of the “National Single Window” program, or NSW, an online system which may enable traders to submit necessary documents and obtain clearance from a wider array of government agencies.
“We aim to reduce administrative and bureaucratic difficulties as much as possible, including the time required in obtaining a licence,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said at the launch of the program. “We want to cut the bureaucracy chain.
“NSW also aims to reduce the cost of doing business,” she said. “It should ease the burden on companies.”
The government has been trying to address complaints from investors, who say that dealing with Indonesian bureaucracy is often costly and fraught with corruption.
Developing an integrated online system for trade activities would help traders bypass much of the complex bureaucracy they have dealt with in the past.
Import-export activities are one of the top sources of corruption, with graft often occurring in agencies that issue trade permits.
By implementing the electronic system, the government also hopes to monitor imported goods from other producers. Chinese products are of particular concern, with many industries fearing that they could flood the country during the slowdown in global demand.
According to a news release issued by the team that prepared the NSW, the system’s latest release will give importers the ability to interact with the government electronically. More than 4,852 priority importers may now use the system - about
25 percent of all importers registered with the Customs and Excise Office - up from 146.
Among the features added to the NSW during the upgrade are a country-wide import permits, online payment confirmation for import duties and import-related taxes, and an e-notification mechanism for any import rejections that includes an explanation for why items were sent back.
At the moment, however, the electronic trading assistance system for exporters is still undergoing trials at Tanjung Priok Port.
“Export documents are much more complicated [than imports],” said Susiwijoyono Moegiarso, chairman of the technical team for NSW implementation. “We don’t want to force the system before it’s ready. If something were to go wrong, it could delay export activity at the time when the government is trying to boost exports because of slowing global demand.”
Susiwijoyono added that the export-oriented arm of NSW is expected to be implemented in June 2009.
The third phase of the NSW will also permit importers to obtain documents including customs declarations and permits to import goods issued by 15 government agencies at five ports that process 90 percent of goods entering the country.
The eligible ports are Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port, Tanjung Emas in Semarang, Central Java Province, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, East Java Province, and Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra Province.
Previously, NSW only served Tanjung Priok and five agencies: the Directorate General of Customs at the Ministry of Finance; the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, or BPOM; the Indonesian Agriculture Quarantine Agency at the Ministry of Agriculture; the Indonesian Fisheries Quarantine Agency at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries; and the Directorate General of International Trade at the Ministry of Trade.
In its latest incarnation, however, the NSW will give importers access to more government agencies from a wider variety of ministries and departments.
The ministries of industry, forestry, health, defense, communication and information technology, energy and mineral resources now participate in NSW, in addition to the State Ministry for the Environmental and the National Police.