KRA gives traders a week to switch to new customs monitoring system

times-tower
times-tower

What you need to know:

  • Traders handling containerised cargo have seven days to switch to the Kenya Revenue Authority’s new customs monitor.
  • Deputy Commissioner Revenue and Regional Coordination, Mr Joseph Kaguru asked traders to expedite the shift from the MM/Simba system to avoid being inconvenienced.

Traders handling containerised cargo have seven days to switch to the Kenya Revenue Authority’s new customs monitor as the agency moves to increase clearance efficiency at the country’s entry points.

Deputy Commissioner Revenue and Regional Coordination, Mr Joseph Kaguru asked traders to expedite the shift from the MM/Simba system to avoid being inconvenienced when Kenya implements full use of the system starting October 22.

The deputy Commissioner said the authority had set up dedicated desks at different custom points including at the port of Mombasa, at Malaba border and at Long House (KRA headquarters Mombasa) to assist traders having difficulties making the switch.

“This is to request you to notify all Kenya Shipping Agents Association (KSAA) members of the intended switch over from MM/Simba to iCMS system. KRA has set up dedicated resources to hand-hold the shipping agents who have not finalised the integration with iCMS to expeditiously do so, before the deadline,” said Mr Kaguru.

He added: “The shipping agents are advised to dedicate technical resources to finalise the implementation of submission of Sea Export Manifest through iCMS. The KRA iCMS technical team will be reaching out to discuss the implementation and time lines.”

The system’s full implementation which was delayed by more than five months as a result of Covid-19 and KRA has been rolling out in phases before its full implementation next month.

The new system enables revenue authorities to receive declarations of goods before ships dock at the port, reducing the time taken to clear cargo.

It was launched in 2019 in line with the World Trade Organisation’s requirement for simplification and harmonisation of international trade procedures.

The iCMS involves submitting export or import documents into a single-window system and is expected to reduce clearing time by at least 60 percent.

Trade ranking

The phased out Simba System runs on multiple platforms and requires multiple points of authentication for users, thereby taking more time.

KRA has already successfully implemented iCMS in clearing air freight cargo, motor vehicles, bulk and export cargo. The shipping agents switch will bring to completion the implementation of the system is expected to improve Kenya’s trade ranking.

In an earlier interview, Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs Kevit Desai said the system will increase efficiencies at the port of Mombasa and along Northern Corridor.

“With full implementation of iCMS, we expect Kenya’s ranking at the world trade index to go up by 20 positions. In the system, we have integrated 41 modules and we expect the remaining four to be completed by June this year,” said Dr Desai.

Traders’ concerns

But even as KRA pushes for full implementations of the iCMS, a section of traders has raised concerns over user challenges, more so at border points where they say they require more time to master the new system which is being integrated with Sea Cargo Release Module by the Kenya Trade Network Agency. The module was implemented two months ago.

Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Roy Mwanthi said the system has been adopted in Mombasa and the delays at the border is only for the few.

“The new system has interactive capabilities that will eliminate redundant processes and automate all manual processes in the Simba System. In the iCMS, traders are required to submit sea manifests for both imports and exports 48 hours before a vessel arrives or departs.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.