For Online E-newspaper
The East African : November 18th 2013
The EastAfrican 42 ADVERTISING FEATURE NOVEMBER 16-22,2013 What are the current problems with trade procedures in Kenya? The Kenyan Government recognizes the importance of international trade as a powerful vehicle for wealth and employment creation. However, the current clearing system for cargo at various border points faces a number of problems that compromise Kenya’s ability to maximize on the benefits accruing from international trade. Currently, documentation procedures associated with international trade in Kenya are largely manual, resource intensive and expensive. In addition, traders have to deal separately with a multiple of government agencies that have no electronic systems. The prevailing inefficiency of trade documentation processes creates perennial problems of delays in clearance of goods at the Kenyan ports on the trading community, the result of which is high transaction costs. At the moment, the average logistics in Kenya is significant averaging around 35 per cent of the cost of insurance and freight (CIF) value of the imported goods. This element continues to be a major factor in international trade and global competitiveness of Kenya. What is Single Window System? Single Window is basically a trade facilitation tool. It is a facility in the form of an electronic platform that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements. The platform has the intelligence to disseminate electronically cargo clearance documentation received from shippers to the relevant authorities for relevant approvals and processing. Since cargo documentation transmitted electronically, it is submitted through the Single Window only once and the same is transmitted to the relevant authorities. In a Single Window environment, all the players in international trade such as Government agencies (customs, transport, health and standards etc.), intermediaries (freight forwarders, customs, port and terminal operators) and exporters/ importers are integrated in one information technology gateway which is the Single Window platform through which they complete their procedures for the movement of goods in a simplified framework at minimum time and cost. The Single Window process removes subjectivity since it is an electronic process with minimum human intervention. How will the Single Window integrate with existing systems for cross-border trade between Kenya and her EAC partners? The Kenyan Single Window System is designed in such a way that it can be easily integrated /interfaced with other systems. The EAC Secretariat is leading an initiative towards implementation of a Regional EAC Single Window System (SWS). The Strategy is to have all the EAC Partner States establish their National Single Window Systems which will then be linked together via a regional electronic platform. The operationalization of the EAC Regional SWS will make it possible for the various government agencies including the customs and revenue authorities to exchange information electronically through a common regional platform hence enabling the relevant officers to make decisions related to trade transaction faster. This will result in reduction in delays and other wastages in the trade logistic chain leading to a more efficient and improved business environment in EAC. Kenya is currently implementing a number of policies to improve trade facilitation on the Northern Corridor. How will the Single Window complement these efforts? The Single Window will provide an electronic platform where all documents related to cargo clearance will be submitted for approval by the various government agencies. This means that information will be readily available even before the arrival of cargo for the various cargo interveners to make decisions on their level of intervention. The System will also make it easy for the government to monitor the flow of transaction documents and or cargo and take remedial action where necessary. Eventually, the System will integrate or interface with the cargo tracking System (CTS) being implemented by and the AWIMS being implemented by Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) to ensure full tracking of cargo in Kenya which will facilitate the Governments desire reduced the time take to move transit cargo from the Port of Mombasa to border key border post of Malaba to a maximum of 5 days. How will the Single Window System benefit East African Community (EAC)? More than half of imports/exports in EAC pass through Kenya. Improving the business environment in Kenya therefore, will have an impact on the entire East African Community region. The foremost benefit of the Single Window System will be to reduce delays and trade transactions cost. Its main benefit therefore is that it will bring about greater harmonization and better sharing of the relevant data across Government Departments and or Systems and result in improved efficiency, transparency and effectiveness of official controls, enhance revenue collection and reduce costs of doing business for both the Government and the business community in the EAC region. What is KENTRADE’s role in Implementation of the System? Best practices require that Single Window operations are managed centrally by an independent corporate entity, to enable appropriate governmental authorities and agencies to receive or have access to the information relevant for their purposes. In Kenya, the Government established Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE) as a State Corporation for this purpose. The mandate also includes trade facilitation which is one of the areas that the Single Window addresses. Who are the stakeholders of the Single Window System? There are a significant number of Government agencies who are interveners in the cargo clearing processes and private sector institutions that are involved in the international trade regulatory processes. Other key stakeholders are the Shipping Lines; Shippers Council of Eastern Africa; Ship Agents; Airlines Ground Handlers; Kenya Transport Association; Pre-shipment permit issuing organizations such as Tea Board of Kenya, Pharmacy & Poisons Board, Horticultural Crops Development Authority; Insurance Companies; Commercial Banks and Development Partners (Donors). The list is endless because of the cross-cutting nature of the Project. Briefly explain the road map to Single Window System? Single Window is basically a business project which uses the power of ICT as an enabler. The implementation of the Single Window has been a challenging but rewarding experience. The process has involved several activities the rest being business process mapping and re-engineering. It took over 216 meetings and 7 months to go through the process of Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). This process entailed analysis and redesign of existing procedures to bring about inefficiency in a process. The project team engaged stakeholders in a comprehensive BPR exercise in order to understand the current procedures and propose the most efficient procedures in international trade. The stakeholders involved were Shipping Lines/ Agents, KPA, KRA, Consolidators, Government Regulatory Agencies. The Business Process Re-engineering exercise laid the foundation for KENTRADE to come up with the System Requirements Specifications which were then documented in the System Requirement Specifications (SRS) document. The SRS document was then signed off by all the stakeholders involved to signify acceptance. This formed the basis for the System development. Subsequent to finalization and signing off the SRS, the system developers began the system development phase of software development life cycle. System development was completed in June, 2013.
November 10th 2013
November 25th 2013