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KRA suffers customs systems glitch

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has experienced a major system failure greatly affecting its online services. The disruption was occasioned by power interruption to the authority\’s data centre while it was installing a new power back up system.

KRA Deputy Commissioner for Marketing and Communication Kennedy Onyonyi said the worst affected was KRA\’s customs operations affecting revenue collection at all cargo entry points.

"What has happened is that the revenue is not being collected as it was expected but now the collections have been delayed and will be collected when the system is back up," Mr Onyonyi said but added that no data had been lost during the power outage.

The system failure is creating a backlog of cargo clearance and revenue collection with payments being deferred.

Mr Onyonyi said customs officials would be unable to intervene until the system was restored, adding that KRA will deploy extra officers to all cargo entry points to help with the clearing once the system was working.

"As customs operations take place on a 24-hour cycle, we plan to deploy additional officers in the next few days, to ensure the backlog generated is eliminated and applicable revenue collected expeditiously," he said.

A separate team will be deployed to deal with fuel and transit goods clearance.

KRA has however not given a timeline when normal operations would resume only saying it had engineers working round the clock to restore online customs operations.

With the backlog, importers may incur higher storages expenses if their goods overstay at the customs compound.

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Mr Onyonyi however said that importers would need to write to the Commissioner of Customs outlining that the higher costs were accrued as a result of the KRA system failure.

"There are provisions within the law for us to waive the charges if you argue your case and convince us that it were due to us that you incurred the costs," he said.

Since the incident occurred late on Tuesday, the system relating motor vehicle transactions including registration transfer of ownership and TLB licensing among others had been fully restored with normal operations having resumed.

KRA on average clears 1,700 containers per day collecting between Sh16-Sh17 billion a month through customs.

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