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Kenya to complete trade system upgrade in April

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A vessel discharges containers at the Port of Mombasa

Kenya’s National Electronic Single Window System expected to facilitate trade will be completed this month, the government has said.

This comes as the government brings on board more trade-related state agencies onto the one-stop-shop platform for lodging, payments and cargo clearing.

All government agencies are required to automate their services and ensure they interface with the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade)’s Single Window System.

The system which was rolled out about nine years ago has been undergoing an upgrade since August last year.

It has already taken onboard about 23 government agencies out of the at least 38 targeted.

Other users include 38 active insurance companies, 36 banks, about 1,529 clearing agents, 46 shipping agents and shipping companies, 29 container freight stations and five cargo handling companies.

As at December 2021, the Single Window System had over 16,000 registered system users with over 60,000 importers.

Some of the key state agencies that have been on the platform since its inception include Kenya Ports Authority, KRA, Kenya Bureau of Standards and port health.

All the agencies that were in 2019 kicked out of the Port of Mombasa, in a move to address delays and graft, are expected to offer their services through the platform.

They include the Pharmacy and Poisonous Board, AFA Horticultural Crop Directorate, Directorate of Veterinary Services, Kenya Dairy Board, Radiation Protection Board, AFA Sugar Directorate, Pest Control Produce Board, Directorate of Mining, Kenya Wildlife Services and the National Biosafety Authority.

Others were Veterinary Medical Department, AFFA Tea Directorate, Central Firearms Bureau, NEMA and AFA Fibre Crop Directorate, all now expected to offer services on the digital platform.

National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the upgraded system is a superior, and will provide better user experience.

“I believe that some of the limitations and features that were lacking in the Kenya  TradeNet system will promote the betterment of intra-regional trade, as well as significantly make it easy  to carry out trade,” Yatani said in a statement yesterday.

KenTrade CEO Amos Wangora said the agency has continued to  embrace and implement emerging technologies in order to provide unique products and services. 

“These efforts are aimed at providing stakeholders with an opportunity to conduct business in a seamless,  efficient and effective way hence reducing the cost of doing business within the country,” he said.

He said Kenya remains an important regional gateway to the landlocked East Africa and wider Great Lakes countries, with the Northern Corridor linking the Port of Mombasa to Uganda( biggest transit destination), Burundi, Democratic Republic of  Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan.

It is however facing competition from the Central Corridor which runs from Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania into the hinterland.

Since 2014, over 3.3 million permits have been issued through the system, while over 2.8 million Unique  Consignment References (UCR) have been processed.  

As at December, there were a total of 445,146 import declarations with a total value of Sh2.9 trillion recorded in the  system, says KenTrade.