Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Gov’t pledges to put brakes on JSWIFT hiccups

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2020 | 12:07 AM
Audley Shaw
Audley Shaw

The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in responding to a Gleaner article about the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) published on Tuesday, said the portal will soon become much swifter.

In a release sent to the media on Thursday, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw assured importers and exporters that JSWIFT would shortly become more efficient as the backlog of applications is now being eroded by the Trade Board Limited.

The JSWIFT platform is a web-based solution available to traders that allows importers and exporters to apply for licences, permits, certificates, and other international trade-related documents through a single portal.

According to the ministry, JSWIFT serves as a means of improving connectivity, thereby facilitating the exchange of information between traders, customs offices, and other regulatory agencies.

Fuming dealers

However, information reaching The Gleaner is that less than two months after expressing optimism that JSWIFT would be a game changer in the vehicle-importation industry, dealers are fuming.

In noting the concerns of users regarding the efficiency of the portal, Shaw has tasked the Trade Board Limited to move post-haste to clear the backlog and push the portal to its full potential.

Shaw reportedly issued his instructions following discussions with the Trade Board Limited and ministry officials aimed at ironing out the challenges.

“Serious and strategic efforts are being made to address the issues being faced by importers and exporters. We recognise the invaluable channel to growth that the JSWIFT provides, and I have instructed the Trade Board to move with alacrity in addressing the backlog,” Shaw said.

Stakeholders’ blunt verdict is that JSWIFT is just too slow, resulting in the accumulation of thousands of dollars in storage fees and empty space on sales lots.

President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association Lynvalle Hamilton told The Gleaner that his members are frustrated by a bureaucratic backlog that is bleeding their pockets.