resident William Ruto has appointed Mr. Basil Criticos, a former Taveta MP, to chair the board of the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade).
He will take over from Mr Mugambi Imanyara who was appointed for 3 years through a gazette notice date 4th October 2021 and took over on 6th October 2021.
Criticos takes the leadership mantle at KenTrade, a state corporation set up in 2011 under The National Treasury and Planning that runs the National Electronic Single Window System (NESWS), popularly known as Kenya TradeNet System, at a transformative period when the agency is focusing on more trade facilitation activities after rolling out all the modules envisaged when it was created.
The digitization of trade processes in Kenya has grown from a paltry 14 percent before the launch of the TradeNet, which went live in 2013 to 94 percent with all export and import processes being carried out almost paperless, the acting Chief Executive officer of KenTrade, Mr. David Ngarama said in a recent interview.
This has reduced the cost of business and fast-tracked export and import processes, he said. TradeNet System is now fully integrated into the Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS), which replaced the over-a-decade-old Simba system Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) ran. The government collects over US$22.19 million through the system annually, with most Government agencies recording double-digit revenue growth.
Alongside its core mandate, KenTrade oversaw the roll-out of other trade facilitation tools that have eased global transactions for Kenyan traders. In 2017, KenTrade launched the Information for Trade in Kenya (InfoTradeKenya) portal.
The development of this platform was in response to a gap identified in cargo clearance information among the trading community and the need to merge all the procedures into a single portal accessible to all those involved in International Trade as prescribed by Article 1.2 WTO Trade Facilitation.
The portal is an online platform that provides comprehensive, single-point access to up-to-date trade-related information. It provides a step-by-step guide for imports; exports and transit trade procedures to assist traders to make informed choices.
In March 2019, KenTrade introduced the i-Screen Kenya system to the trading community and other stakeholders to enable them to access and search for information regarding their potential trading partners.
Another significant milestone KenTrade has made is the launch of the Kenya Maritime Single Window System. This was a joint project with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) on the implementation of the FAL Convention.
This is a requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports, which came into effect on 8 April 2019. Actors aimed at making cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient for the over 10 billion tons of goods traded by sea annually across the globe.
KenTrade was last year firmly anchored into law following the signing of the National Electronic Single Window System (National Assembly Bill No. 15 of 2021) by the former President of the Republic of Kenya H.E Uhuru Kenyatta on June 21, 2022.
The latest project that KenTrade has carried out is the Ksh90 million Business Intelligence (BI) Tool. The tool seeks to collect extensive data on Kenya’s import and export trade.
The new BI Tool will analyze and disseminate data in real-time to trade facilitators and government agencies aimed at making better data-driven decisions. The BI tool helps to facilitate ease of trade in Kenya through extraction and analysis of real-time data to help trade facilitators and government agencies make data-driven decisions.
This will support better visibility of Mombasa Port, and the Northern Corridor Community Charter for improved decision-making and efficiency. The system will address the challenge of limitations of report generation features on the TradeNet System.
KenTrade’s new Business Intelligence (BI) Tool released its first import and export report recently, which showed that Kenya’s export earnings for 2021 went up by 17 percent to Sh666.7 billion compared to Sh567.4 billion in 2020 because of the strengthening of the dollar.
With the recent upgrade of the system, Criticos will steer the agency at a critical time in the Trade Facilitation Platform that is guiding it.
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