Increased use of cargo scanners at the port of Mombasa and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport largely helped the taxman to grow daily non-oil revenue by Sh131 million in six months ended last December compared to the similar period in 2016, fresh data shows.
The Kenya Revenue Authority said collections from non-oil imports averaged Sh1.257 billion daily in the July-December 2017 period compared with Sh1.126 billion a year earlier.
Commissioner-general John Njiraini also attributed the growth in daily revenue flows at the Customs to “benchmarking of cargo values to address undervaluation” and “stricter application of cargo auction processes”.
“Customs recorded overall growth of 7.7 per cent, with non-oil collections, which account for about 70 per cent of revenue growing at 8.1 per cent,” Mr Njiraini, whose second three-year expires on March 3, said in a statement.
“Customs performance, however, continued to be adversely impacted by sluggish import growth with container volumes in H (first half) recording marginal growth of 2.8 per cent compared to growth of 4.9 per cent in H1 of FY (financial year) 2016-17 (which ended last June).”
The Scanner Integration Project, which connects all readers at border entry points to a command centre at Time Tower, has been largely funded by the Chinese government.
The integration started last October and was initially set to be completed by March.
The integration is expected to help customs officials monitor and analyse contents of cargo entering and leaving the country from the command centre.
About Sh1 billion was invested in the project last year, comprised of Sh900 million the Chinese government spent on acquiring additional scanners and a further Sh100 million for their installation.
The project is expected to clamp down on smuggling of goods into the country by rogue traders and reduce collusion by various actors at border points to defraud the taxman revenue through corrupt deals.
“Previously scanning operations were localised at the point of scanning, meaning that Customs leadership did not have ongoing visibility about scanning operations,” Mr Njiraini said in an interview on December 15.
“[With new development], our experts are able to perform the necessary image analysis that would previously only have been possible in Mombasa.”
KRA introduced the cargo readers as part of a major strategy to tame tax cheats who usually made false declaration of goods handed for processing.
It has scanners at key ports of entry, including Kilindini port, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Moi International Airport, Mombasa, Eldoret International Airport, the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi and a few Container Freight Stations (CFSs).