Days after Ugandans blamed Kenya for the rising cost of goods, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority have unveiled a plan to reduce clearance from the current four days to one.
A new electronic cargo tracking system will be operational before the end of the year, Wambui Namu, KRA commissioner of customs, said.
The port of Mombasa handles goods headed for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The clearance process takes four days, and Namu admitted that it’s a costly exercise for the business community.
The accusation that Kenya is contributing to the higher cost of goods was supported by a World Bank study that claimed the country is partly to blame for rising food prices in the land-locked Great Lakes region.
KRA has been modernizing its systems to improve efficiency. The authority implemented the Simba system in 2006 for revenue collection and interlinking offices across the country. Namu says KRA is working with stakeholders to ensure that the customs modernization program is successful.
The automated system will reduce human interference and corruption, which is rampant at the port, with brokers and underhand dealers at every stage of the clearance process.
With the new system, Namu says officials from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC will communicate as soon as the goods leave Mombasa and update each other on the status at border points.