The Kenyan government has been busy rolling out digital systems for a number of its services and it looks like the customs system is about to receive a similar treatment. This was announced by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs Principal Secretary Dr Kevit Desai saying that a digital customs system is set to be fully rolled out in June this year.
Once implemented, the integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) is expected to significantly increase efficiencies at the Port of Mombasa and along the Northern Corridor. The system, according to the official, is currently 90% complete.
“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.
The iCMS will enable revenue authorities to receive declarations of goods before ships dock at the port. This will help reduce the time taken to clear goods.
The past decade has seen Kenya implement a number of programmes that have seen the time to import and export goods fall in the EACby 54% and 92% respectively. During the same period, the turnaround truck time between Mombasa and Kampala has fallen from 18 days to 4 days.
The costs of import and export have been parallel to this having fallen within the same period by 45% and 66% respectively, according to a TMEA (TradeMark East Africa) report released this year.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic tried to push back the efforts forcing a number of stakeholders to come together to prevent further decline.
Other than the customs system, we have the government implement a number of new digital systems in a bid to create efficiency in its service delivery amid the pandemic. This includes the new TSC online system and even the COVID-19 vaccine registration database among more.