After successfully implementing the National Electronic Single Window System, also known as Kenya TradeNet System, the online cargo clearing platform for about six years now, KenTrade is now making foray into other value added services that have brought great efficiency in the logistics related matters.
Having brought together 42 stakeholders with over 10,000 registered users, which include more than 35 permits, licenses and certificates government issuing agencies, KenTrade, the state agency mandated to implement and manage the TradeNet system is riding on information technology as Kenya seeks to create a Maritime Single Window System by next year.
This success has seen KenTrade emerge as a strategic player with many other government agencies seeking to reach the industry stakeholders seeking its partnership. It is slowly becoming the fulcrum of the logistics industry in the country.
One of the recent key initiatives by the agency, which has transformed the export and import business in the country is the launch, in last year, of information-trade portal that has today has set its eyes on serving about 1.5 million users by the close of this year.
According to Mr Amos Wangora, the KenTrade Chief Executive Officer, this initiative was informed by the fact that there was an existing gap in availability of authentic and timely information to business community on export imports procedures and requirements in Kenya. This, he said, hampered the export and import business, which many people found hard to engage since they did not have a clue on where to start.
“ With all this information readily available through step by step clear instructions on how to export, import or transit, traders should find it quicker and easier to discharge all their formalities with fewer time consuming interactions,” Mr Wangora told Freight Logistics 14th edition magazine.
In compliance with article 1.2 of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, through National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) developed the Information for Trade in Kenya Portal also known as the InfoTradeKenya Portal.
The Portal, a web based platform, is implemented by KenTrade in partnership with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).
The government has published trade regulatory information from all the government offices, ministries and agencies that impose controls on export and import trade.
The Portal continues to publish the current trade regulations including but not limited to administrative procedures, agencies to visit, results or outcomes, forms, requirements, licenses, permit, penalties applicable in case of breach, applicable fees, duration of each procedure and laws that justify the procedure and its contents on various mapped commodities traded in the country.
“The portal, which in essence shows a trader all the obligations they need to comply with, prior to import or export of a specific commodity has now reduced time needed to gather information on foreign trade from an average 10 days to a click of a button,” Mr. Wangora explained.
Apart from time saving, the portal provides total transparency on rules and procedures pertaining to export and import formalities, reduce the cost of obtaining information and has made it easy to comply with the government regulations.
Another value added service KenTrade is offering is free WIFI at all places where TradeNet system is used- Namanga, Busia, Isebania, Malaba and Taveta border posts.
This initiative is supported by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), which provides space, electricity and security in their server rooms at One Stop Border Posts, for WIFI and equipment installation. The free WIFI is also available at the port of Mombasa and Jomo Kenyatta International Airports (JKIA).
This initiative is meant to ease access to the online cargo clearing system and access to other Partner Government Agencies (PGA) using the system as well as to increase the use of the Tradenet System by clearing agents at border points.
“ Initially, some PGA’s did not have internet access at the border posts thus inhibiting their access to systems and causing delays in the processing and approvals of the documents,” Mr Wangora said.
Traders can now send an SMS through their phone to 22392 to seek the status of their application of Import Declaration Form (IDF), permits, manifests, bonds and Marine Cargo Insurance (MCI).
Recently, the agency also introduced Watch List Screening system to screen suppliers and compile those black listed as a way of enhancing due diligence by the traders.
The Kenya TradeNet System has played a key role in the provision of the Marine Cargo Insurance (MCI). Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was directed by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mr. Henry Rotich to enforce the often ignored Section 20 (1) of the Insurance Act that requires compulsory procurement of marine insurance from local firms.
As a first time user of the TradeNet System, a trader is required to get access credentials by contacting KenTrade to submit application for MCI certificate from the preferred Insurance Company.
Upon issuance of the MCI, the trader or insurance company will be required to submit to KRA and any other Partner Government Agency (PGA) the certificate through the Kenya TradeNet System.
Another area of focus by KenTrade is the ongoing process of replacing the decade old Simba System with the Integrated Custom Management System (iCMS) which will be linked to the TradeNet System.The integration entails changing the way IDF and Manifest are handled currently.
The Base Document that replaces IDF will be done in iCMS for both import and export regimes. The document will then be transmitted to TradeNet System where it will be linked with corresponding approved permits from various government agencies and sent back to iCMS to enable cargo clearance.
Also Manifest will be lodged in iCMS and once approved transmitted to TradeNet system for use by the various government agencies during cargo clearance. iCMS will also transmit declaration to TradeNet system to facilitate electronic cargo release geared towards having a paperless cargo clearance process.
“All in all, the implementation of iCMS will not have any negative impact on TradeNet since the system will still receive all the required information from iCMS and share the same to other stakeholders” Mr. Wangora said
Plans are underway to roll out the integrated System by August this year. The Key benefits of the integrated system will be paperless cargo clearance through introduction of electronic cargo release.It will also reduce cargo clearance time with introduction of electronic interaction between Customs and other government agencies.
This will bring transparency and accountability. Importers will be able to monitor cargo clearance process right from the comfort of their office, through a dashboard in TradeNet system.
A Dynamic Risk Management module in the Kenya TradeNet has made it easy for PGAs to target and release cargo. The System enables PGAs to profile cargo based on various set criteria such a place of origin, nature of cargo, history of the importer/exporter and so on. This makes it easy for a PGA to target specific individuals/cargoes without inconveniencing others.