Kathmandu, November 5 Nepal has launched the pilot version of its first trade portal – the Nepal Trade Information Portal (NTIP) — configured with the assistance of SGS. SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, was appointed by the Nepal government in July 2015 to supervise the design, procurement and implementation of both NTIP and the Nepal National Single Window (NNSW). SGS also assisted the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) with the sourcing, compilation and publication of information on the portal. Funded by the World Bank and operated by TEPC, NTIP was unveiled by Minister of Commerce, Romi Gauchan Thakali, Executive Director of TEPC, Ishwari Prasad Ghimire and World Bank Lead Transport Specialist, Diep Nguyen-van Houtte, as per a media release. NTIP provides the Nepali business community with ‘a secure and personalised single entry point to all Nepal trade-related information, such as information about all regulatory requirements, trade procedures and fees’. It also provides a searchable resource library for all available documents and materials related to trade in Nepal. NTIP is based on the World Bank Trade Portal Toolkit, which was originally implemented in Laos and has since been successfully implemented in a number of developing countries to facilitate the rapid deployment of national trade portals. SGS recommended leveraging this existing framework and solution to shorten the preparation, development and launch cycle. The cost savings achieved by using the World Bank toolkit will fund the introduction of further innovative features and functionality. Additional functionality will be made possible thanks to toolkit’s high-performance PHP framework, used to develop Web 2.0 applications. To avoid significant customisation and further reduce costs, SGS recommended that the add-ons and extension be carried out as independent services. The release has quoted Minister Thakali as saying, “I believe that the Nepal Trade Information Portal is a solution that will help improve Nepal’s trade efficiency, empowering the trading community by providing immediate, online access from a single source to all legislation, policies, procedures, tariff data and necessary guidelines from across trade-related bodies and organisations.” Similarly, Ghimire said: “The NTIP is a key tool in our efforts to present information that will assist traders as they seek to do business — providing a key source for all relevant guidance. Whether identifying the rules and regulations related to the import or export of a certain commodity, or guidance and procedures for securing the required licences or permits, the trade portal provides a simple means to get the information needed.”