The agriculture-related government agencies inked an agreement with the customs department to implement the one-door system on foreign trade here today.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Sahadev Humagain, chief of Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre (PQP- MC), Damayanti Shrestha, acting director general of Department of Livestock Development, Upendra Rai, director general of Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, and Director General of Department of Customs Suman Dahal on behalf of their respective organisations.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Padma Aryal and Secretary Yogendra Kumar Karki were also present during the MoU signing ceremony.

As per the agreement, service-seekers can avail customs clearance services online. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), the system will make custom services easier and faster, facilitate trade, and the customs clearance process will be completely paperless.

Similarly, the government is confident that the online customs service will foster transparency and promote good governance in the import/export sector.

During the event, Minister Aryal claimed that the data recording and reporting system related to international trade will also become more standard.

"The national one-door system has been introduced to promote the business interests of all stakeholders in the trade supply chain through trade facilitation by simplifying and expediting the customs clearance process via online platforms," she said, "We believe the system will not only promote digitisation but also make our work more transparent and accountable."

Countries like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Japan have fully implemented this system, while India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives among others have only partially implemented it under the World Trade Organisation.

At present, Department of Customs, Department of Commerce Supply and Consumer Protection, Department of Industry, Department of Inland Revenue, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Department of Animal Services, Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Center, Department of Drug Management, Department of Transport Management along with 40 other government bodies are working jointly to implement the national one-door system, Minister Aryal informed.

She further said 21 governmental bodies will be working under this system in the first phase. Gradually other bodies will be included in the future.

A version of this article appears in print on January 25, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.