High-Level review of National Trade Facilitation Committee | Daily News

High-Level review of National Trade Facilitation Committee

A high-level review of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) was conducted on Wednesday (7) in an effort to accelerate trade facilitation commitments and bolster the business landscape in Sri Lanka.

Chaired by the President’s Secretary at the Presidential Secretariat, the meeting involved the participation of committee members representing 12 government agencies and seven private sector Chambers, along with the Secretaries of the Investment Promotion and Trade, Commerce, and Food Security Ministries.

The review focused on assessing the progress of trade facilitation commitments and scrutinising the performance of the NTFC Secretariat. The private sector also voiced their views on expediting actions to ensure the completion of measures ahead of the projected timeline of 2025-2030.

In order to streamline compliance and optimise performance, several directives were issued during the meeting. Firstly, it was decided to establish the NTFC Secretariat under the

supervision of the Ministry of Finance. Secondly, immediate measures will be taken to address the staffing requirements of the Secretariat.

Lastly, the budget allocated for the NTFC Secretariat in 2023, currently under the Department of Customs, will be transferred to the Ministry of Finance to prioritize pending actions such as the development of the NTFC website and progress reporting system.

During the meeting, deliberations took place concerning the proposed National Single Window, a system aimed at simplifying and expediting trade processes. The participants agreed to expedite the submission of the proposal in a sequential manner to ensure its swift implementation.

Representatives from the private sector stressed the need for a higher-level authority to oversee the efficient functioning of the NTFC Secretariat. They also emphasized the

importance of establishing a formal reporting mechanism to track the progress of commitments by each agency.

The high-level review of the NTFC’s performance underscored the urgency of taking decisive action to enhance the business environment in Sri Lanka. By addressing key issues such as staffing, budget allocation, and the implementation of the National Single Window, the government aims to expedite trade facilitation commitments and promote a conducive atmosphere for businesses in the country.

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