Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang
The government on Monday expanded its National Single Window (NSW) scheme, an online service for importers to register for permits, to include Tanjung Emas port in Semarang, Central Java.
The scheme, which was first introduced last December at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port, is designed to reduce the time for importers to be cleared to receive goods to a maximum of 7.5 hours.
Before the scheme, importers had to wait several days to receive clearance. It was slated to increase flow of imported goods and reduce corruption.
However, just 143 importers are benefiting from the Internet-based system. Port authorities select importers to use the system based on their records for adhering to port regulations.
The Finance Ministry's Director General for Customs and Excise Anwar Suprihadi said his office had earmarked about 14,000 importers for inclusion in the system. Of the number, 30 percent were deemed "high risk".
Importers that fail to register by December this year, when the final phase of the NSW project is completed, "may be excluded," Anwar said on the sidelines of the system's launch at Semarang.
According to the NSW preparation team, Indonesia has about 17,500 importers. Importers can register to use the system at www.insw.go.id.
Coordinating Minister for the Economy Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the system would ensure "there would not be any ghost importers".
In the second phase of the NSW project, 10 new government agencies will be included in the system, adding to the five included during the first stage.
The newly included agencies are the Health Ministry, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, the Industry Ministry, the Forestry Ministry, the State Minister for Environment Office, the Agriculture Ministry, the Transportation Ministry, the Directorate General of Postal and Telecommunications, the Nuclear Supervision Agency and the National Police.
The five agencies approved during the first stage are the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, the Directorate General of International Trade, the Drugs and Foods Supervision Agency, the Agriculture Quarantine Agency and the Fish Quarantine Center.
Around 60 percent of all imports received in Indonesia arrive at Tanjung Priok port. Tanjung Emas is Indonesia's fourth largest port by volume.
During the third and final phase of the project, scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, the system will be expanded to include Tanjung Perak port in Surabaya, East Java, Belawan port in Medan, North Sumatra, and Soekarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang.
Indonesia has enacted the scheme as part of its commitment to comply with the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) project by 2009, together with Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam have until 2012 to enact the ASW system.