The national government has identified Nakuru as the first county to be linked to an international online cargo clearance platform.
This is aimed at eliminating challenges related to processing of import and export cargo documentation that have negatively impacted on the country’s business climate and global competitiveness.
The platform locally known as the ‘Kenya TradeNet System’ which was initially conceived in 2014 during the regional heads of state summit hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi will be managed by the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a state agency mandated to roll out the project in all the 47 counties.
County Executive Committee Member for Trade Mr Raymond Komen said Kenya TradeNet System was linked to the financial institutions including banks and mobile payment solutions, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) iTax System and the Government’s e-Citizen platforms, an arrangement that provides an end-to-end electronic cargo documentation platform.
Speaking during a sensitization session for local importers and exporters on ‘Kenya TradeNet System,’ Komen said the platform had been designed to reduce average number of procedures involved in processing local importers and exporter applications by almost 50 percent, cutting down the number of documents required for processing application by between 30 percent and 50 percent and offering paperless application by traders on 24 hours, seven days a week basis.
“Time taken to process businessmen’s import and export requests will be reduced by over 50 percent as the system offers electronic processing and confirmation of payments and provides multiple payments channels.
The system links 42 stakeholders with over 10,000 registered users which includes more than 35 permits, licenses and certificates government issuing outfits known as Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) whose cargo clearance documentations have been automated through System integrations or interfaces with Kenya TradeNet System,” he explained.
The platform will also afford businessmen significant time savings as preparation of manifest will be cut from 2 to 3 days to just 15 minutes for larger agents running their own automated systems. It has been designed to enhance compliance to import and export requirements and increase revenue collection by PGAs.
The county executive said besides establishing a single point of contact for the business sector to interact with the government on issues related to import and export documentation, the system will also eliminate the potential to falsify documents from government agencies confidence in documents processed via the system- further speeding up processing.
“The 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 including place of origin, nature of cargo and history of the importer or exporter which makes it easy for a PGA to target specific individuals or cargoes without inconveniencing others,” he elaborated.
“Another key feature of the Kenya TradeNet System is the Cargo Release Module which makes it easy for stakeholders to monitor the progress of their documents through a dashboard without visiting or calling any office. The System generates reports indicating time taken by each of the cargo interveners making it possible for stakeholders to hold each other to account and hence ensure faster processing of documents,” he added.
Komen said the County administration will partner with the Treasury and Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) to ensure they license all the traders in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure they benefit from the platform.
“Only 50 percent of MSMEs and SMEs in the county are licensed and that is about 120 ,000 enterprises,” he noted.