Trademark East Africa, which will be funding the transition, on Wednesday said expressions of interest would be called for soon with the new system expected to be ready for trial by June next year.
“We in Trademark have partnered with the National Treasury through Kenya Revenue Authority to replace the customs management system. We have a budget of Sh1.1 billion that we are going to use to roll out a new system within the next 18 months,” Trademark EA Country Director Chris Kiptoo said.
Simba which has been in operation since 2005 was meant to streamline revenue collection at the port but given the recent complaints from car importers it doesn’t appear to have done so.
President Uhuru Kenyatta himself ordered an upgrade of the system in June when he held a meeting with the government agencies responsible for the Port of Mombasa.
Kiptoo welcomed President Kenyatta’s various initiatives to increase efficiency at the Port of Mombasa including the single-window system that will enable the clearance of cargo online.
“KenTrade has already launched the new system but I think the President, if I’m not wrong, will be officially launching the work done by KenTrade to open the single window within the next two weeks,” he said.
Kiptoo lauded this move by President Kenyatta at ridding the country and the region at large of non-tariff and tariff barriers urgently.
“You cannot accuse this government of procrastination. Just the other day we complained to the President of road blocks and he immediately ordered them taken off the road,” Kiptoo testified.
In addition to the customs system, Trademark EA is also working on eradicating regional trade barriers through the setting up on one-stop border posts, the reduction of weigh bridges and the construction of parking areas for the trucks as they get weighed.
“Eventually we’d like to shift to a system where the trucks would be weighed when they’re in motion making it unnecessary to stop each and every one of them,” Kiptoo said.