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Clearance of goods going paperless

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12- The implementation of the first phase of the Electronic Single Window System will kick off in July 2013, according to the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE) which is the implementing agency on behalf of the government.

The overall objective of the project is to facilitate external trade in Kenya by reducing delays and lowering costs associated with clearance of goods at Kenyan borders, while maintaining the necessary controls and collection of levies, fees, duties and taxes on imports or exports.

KENTRADE chairman, retired General Joseph Kibwana said the system will be implemented in two phases for a period of six months each.

“Discussions have been held; the system has been defined, the technical specifications have been agreed, and all that remains is to get the contract signed and the system implementation to start,” said Kibwana.

“The electronic platform will be the sole entry point for lodging of trade transaction documentation,” he added.

The system will integrate the electronic systems of stakeholders involved in the cargo clearance process including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Port Health and many others.

“Business will now be paperless, as a trader or a business person; you will not have to lodge any document on paper. Using your computer on the office the same document you lodge on this system, will be delivered and viewed the same way at KRA, KEBS, shipping fraternity, and transporters will have the same document appearing on their screen at the same time,” he said.

All manifests including sea, air and land and declarations, will be submitted to the Single Window System which will disseminate them to the relevant Government Agencies for processing or approval.

“For example KRA will say for this particular container, the duty is ShX, KPA will come up with a reply and for the consignment our charges are ShY. You as the importer will then instruct your bank to pay the two authorities. Then after you have paid, you will be told, go to the port and pick up your luggage,” explained Kibwana.

He said after the project the government through various relevant authorities will now be able to come up with more stringent regulations on the business people who delay to pick their goods.

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The project is being funded by the Government of Kenya with counter funds from the World Bank and other donors.

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