TOWARDS FASTER

CARGO CLEARANCE
Kenya launched the National Electronic
Single Window System in 2014 to facilitate
cargo clearance. What is the status on
implementation after the system was
officially launched? TIMOTHY NGUOH finds
out from Mr. AMOS WANGORA, General
Manager-Operations at Kentrade.

K

enya took the regional lead in launching
the national electronic single window
system (Tradenet) in May 2014.The official
launch was attended by regional Heads of
States including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Kaguta Museveni of Uganda,
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the Prime Minister of Tanzania Mizengo Pinda and Gervais Rufyikiri,
2nd Vice President of the Republic of Burundi. This
signified high level political goodwill by the regional
leaders which was necessary for takeoff not only in
Kenya but in the East Africa Community (EAC).
Kenya TradeNet System Modules: Mr. Wangora
also highlighted that 17 out of 20 modules have already been implemented. This was done in phases
with phase one going live in October 2013. The first
phase was the pre clearance module which involves
lodgment of pre clearance documents such as Import Declaration Forms (IDF), sea manifests, permits for seven government agencies and ship arrival notices. The second phase was issuing permits
for the eight government agencies that came on
board and the risk management bodies. The final
phase was issuing permits for the remaining bodies. The three remaining modules are the declaration submission module, exemption module and
the out-bound (export cycle) module which are currently being tested. Training for the last three modules across the country is set to begin in April for a
period of one and half months. Kentrade is currently in discussions with the respective government
agencies to discontinue receiving manual applications and cut off legacy systems such as ORBUS that

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ISSUE 003 APR - JUNE 2015

Kentrade

Kentrade

Technology

Technology

was previously used for processing IDF. This implies
that any trader who does a manual application in
any trade facilitation government agency should be
turned away. Currently, 50 per cent of IDFs are submitted using the single window. All modules are expected to be integrated in the system by June 2015.
More government agencies: The single window
roll-out has continued to experience several challenges but the feedback is quite impressive. With
regional support at the highest level, the response
from government agencies has been tremendous
and more agencies have come on board after the
launch. The system currently hosts 25 permit issuing agencies from the initial seven.
Time saving: Kentrade is cognizant to the fact
that the response from users is instrumental to
the successful uptake of the system. An example
is the veterinary department which is already submitting 100 per cent of their permits through the
single window. One of the main objectives of the
single window was to reduce costs, time and complexities such as having to physically submit documents to all the government agencies. Previously,
the entire process of application took between 5-7
days but is now done within a day or less to get an
approval for clearance.
Payments: The single window has integrated
the government agencies with a number of banks
in the system through a payment gateway. This
prompts the trader to choose a payment option
either in the form of mobile money transfers, debit
cards or direct bank transfers. The submissions
once complete generate an e-slip (e-invoice) that
will be sent to the respective government agencies.
The system is linked to the KRA i-tax system. Previously, the government agencies had to confirm
receipt of money in the bank upon seeing a hard
copy of payment receipt. The reconciliation process alone could take upto 3-4 days before a confirmation from the agency is received. The system
through the payment platforms now sends direct
notifications to the government agencies which in
turn give immediate confirmation of receipt of payments. This process has been reduced to a maximum of a few hours. Through the various this gateway, 24 banks are already on board and the major
mobile money transfer options in the country. Kentrade is still working on improvement of these payment platforms.
Reduced corruption: Initial estimates indicated
that the through reduction of inefficiencies, implementation of the Kenya TradeNet System will save
the country approximately USD.250 million per annum. However, KenTrade intends to conduct another study to determine the actual impact on savings

One of the main
objectives of the
single window
was to reduce
costs, time and
complexities
such as having
to physically
submit
documents to all
the government
agencies.
Previously, the
entire process of
application took
between 5-7
days but is now
done within a
day or less to get
an approval for
clearance

from money lost through these inefficiencies once
the system is fully implemented.
There are several benefits of implementing a single window system. Traders are expecting to make
numerous savings from an efficient system. These
savings are expected to accrue from losses resulting from wrong declarations, demurrages and inefficiencies in the logistics chain. This also means that
manual submissions which are a big loophole in
cost savings will be a thing of the past and eventually reduce the cases of corruption.
Challenges: The implementation has not been
as smooth as expected with several technical
hiccups. The integration with different systems
among other government agencies systems has
presented even more challenges. Change management has also been a setback with many stakeholders and users initially being very resistant especially
those who have been benefiting from the manual
processes. Kentrade contracted Delloite, an audit
and consultancy firm to conduct the change management audit. In order to encourage use of the
system, Kentrade has also been conducting sensitization workshops to the end users to build more
awareness that should eventually ease resistance.
Another challenge an electronic system presents is the physical verification of cargo which remains a purely manual process as the system is fully
rolled out. To tackle this hurdle, other countries are
introducing scanners and using dynamic risk management systems which involve profiling of cargo.
Regional neighbours: There are various challenges in the uptake and implementation of single
window systems across the region. Kentrade is currently lobbying the EAC to ensure that the system
will eventually be rolled out to all member states.
However, there has been progress towards achieving single window status across the region. For example, Uganda is in the business process engineering phase through funding from TradeMark East
Africa (TMEA). Tanzania is yet to initiate the process while Rwanda and Burundi are currently using
a customs system known as Asycuda. In reality, this
is very different to a single window and will need to
go through major improvements. There are no set
deadlines for the region to achieve single window
status but other member states should be encouraged to accelerate their processes.

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