By Francis Zyder
The World Customs Organisation (WCO) Secretary-General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya has lauded the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for the various tax administration and modernization measures it has put in place to facilitate trade.
Speaking during a tour of the Integrated Scanner Command Centre at KRA headquarters, Dr. Mikuriya noted that the Authority is setting the pace for other African countries as a leading Custom management centre of excellence in Africa the through modern Custom management solutions.
“I am happy with the initiatives that KRA has implemented to enhance efficiency in the management of cargo. These cargo management solutions are critical in facilitating trade across the region and to the world,” Dr. Mikuriya said.
KRA has implemented programs and initiatives supported by the WCO, through development partners including United States of America (USA) United Nations (UN) andJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The programs include; Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), Coordinated Border Management, Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS), Non-Intrusive Cargo Inspection, Electronic Cargo Monitoring and Border Security Program.
Speaking at the same forum, KRA Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Mr. Kevin Safari stated that KRA is benefiting from the modernization of tax systems within the Customs and Border Control Department.
“The modernization efforts within the Customs and Border Control Department has enhanced efficiency in customs management, playing a pivotal role in fostering economic competitiveness, revenue collection and protection of society from illicit trade as well as wrongful declaration of cargo,” Commissioner Safari said.
As part of KRA’s transformation agenda, the Authority has made tremendous progress in integrating the international and regional customs systems. Among other projects, KRA has implemented an advanced integrated scanner strategy focusing on non-intrusive cargo inspection, seven One-Stop Border Points (OSBPs) and activated a web-based Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS)- state-of-the-art technology for monitoring the movement of cargo along the Northern Corridor.
The ultramodern scanners and the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS have enhanced cargo security and safety at key points of entry as well improved the turnaround time for cargo clearance.
The use of the scanners has reduced the need for the cumbersome physical inspection at the points of entry.
“The system offers real time scanning and inspection. This has ensured 90 percent of cargo is checked and has reduced incidents of cargo diversion,” said Commissioner Safari.
As part of the KRA 7th Corporate Plan (2018-2021), the Authority has been undertaking a strategic transformation agenda focusing on intelligence and risk-based Customs processes to enable faster cost effective and more convenient cargo clearance.
The WCO has been providing capacity building and technical support to KRA. Last year, WCO hosted a Revenue Package national workshop on the implementation of an Advance Rulings system for classification and origin, funded by the Finland Customs Capacity Building Project for East and Southern Africa (ESA) held in Nairobi. Twenty-three Customs officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) participated in the workshop, which was facilitated by an expert from the WCO Secretariat and an accredited Revenue Package Expert.