One-window operation


For late, the proposal of starting off “one -window operation” has been floating around. It is being suggested that all activities related to CPEC project be streamlined at single end. While the exact details are to be determined, we asked an expert about the need for “one-window operation” and how to undertake it.

Below is an expert’s comment  on the topic. You can also weigh in your opinion at the Facebook page of CPEC Watch.

Rana Sajjad
A Lahore-based lawyer, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), founder and president of the Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration (CIICA).

The one-window operation proposed by China could be an effective mechanism for improving information flows, coordination and cooperation between different government authorities to enable prompt and smooth functioning of the CPEC projects. However, an important factor to be taken into consideration is transparency in the entire process.

One-window operation is a good proposition and some countries have established such operations. For example, the Philippines Board of Investment has set up a one-window network to promote transparency and accountability in connection with tracking and monitoring the status of investors’ queries. The network offers online investment facilitation of investors’ queries; investors can easily track their queries and receive email or SMS notification for any action taken by the designated account officer and can even lodge complaint against any official who has failed to fulfill his/her official duties.

The proposal to establish that for Pakistan is also meant at bringing more efficiency on functioning of CPEC projects. How to undertake it?

Establishing and implementing a one-window operation would require setting up a legal authority. It would also require rules and regulations governing the submission of documents, authentication, data sharing, archiving as well as data protection and privacy. Secondly, the legal basis and parameters for inter-agency cooperation would also have to be clearly set out to avoid any ambiguity in connection with the implementation of the operation and the respective role of each government agency.

In view of the involvement of the huge amount of information and coordination between multiple government authorities, transparency is an important consideration. This is primarily because questions have been raised about the specific details of several CPEC projects and therefore any legal authority established for facilitating CPEC projects should operate in a transparent manner. To sum it up, clearly-defined procedures and mechanisms for the entire one-window operation and, more importantly, strict compliance with the rules governing this one-window operation would be critical for ensuring transparency.

(Disclaimer: Views expressed by experts are their own; CPEC Watch may or may not agree with them.)