ISLAMABAD: The export facilitation scheme (EFS), which works under the Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Portal, has proved helpful in streamlining the export process by reducing time and costs for exporters, officials said.
Aftab Haider, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at PSW, which works under Pakistan Customs, said while talking to WealthPK that the new system eliminates the need for indirect exporters to seek approval on a consignment-to-consignment basis.
He stated that the PSW Portal, which already provides access to over 70 departments across the country, will help exporters efficiently navigate regulatory requirements and avoid delays.
“This scheme represents a significant step towards strengthening Pakistan’s export industry and increasing its global competitiveness,” he said.
According to World Bank estimates, the full implementation of the PSW system will result in direct savings of $430 million to the national economy in terms of reduced costs for documentary and border compliances.
Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), emphasised the importance of conducting public-private dialogue and assessments to identify ways to enhance the accessibility of EFS in both traditional and non-traditional export sectors.
To facilitate better access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sector-based studies should be conducted to investigate the impact of delayed refunds on Pakistan’s top exporting sectors, and explore innovative solutions to address this persistent issue.
Vaqar emphasised the need for conducting annual assessments of the EFS and sharing the findings with the industry to enable corrective measures.
Additionally, he said, there is a need to identify immediate and medium-term measures to address the challenges faced by exporting firms in understanding the systems at the PSW.
He said the government should also allow evidence-based design and targeting under the EFS, focusing on pre-approval aspects such as eligibility, outreach, and documentation, as well as mid-approval factors like processing timelines, issuance of necessary certifications, process improvements, and automation.
By adopting these measures, Pakistan can streamline its export process, boost competitiveness, and achieve sustainable economic growth.
Faraz-ur-Rehman, President of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, said the PSW would help in stabilising the economy, particularly in terms of providing a steady supply of raw materials.
However, he expressed concern that delays in export refunds are discouraging investment in the industry.
Faraz welcomed the EFS and PSW, noting that these initiatives will simplify the process of importing raw materials and managing associated taxes. He stated that by streamlining these processes, exporters will be better equipped to compete in global markets, which will ultimately improve the country’s export performance.
The PSW is a digital platform that has integrated Pakistan Customs and other regulated bodies for the clearance of import, export, and transit goods. The PSW system uses a harmonised and coordinated approach to regulating clearance procedures efficiently. –INP