Taxman defends new icmS cargo clearance system amid hiccups
IMPORTS: Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has defended the implementation of the new integrated Customs management system (iCMS), which cargo importers blame for constant delays while clearing imports at the Port of Mombasa.
Speaking during the celebration of this year’s International Customs day in Mombasa, Joseph Tonui, KRA Southern region coordinator acknowledged hiccups in the new system implementation but assured that the minor challenges will not derail cargo clearance at the port.
Customs and Border Control Department is currently implementing the iCMS meant to replace the 13-year old Simba system, hoping to seal tax loopholes and make trade processes seamless. The system, Tunoi said, is a game changer in facilitating trade.
Cargo dwell time
“The Authority was fully committed to reducing the cargo dwell time at the Port of Mombasa.
Of course there are challenges but it is working concurrently with the Simba system to ensure no gridlocks,” Tonui said.
He added: “The system currently being piloted at the Port of Mombasa is a game changer in facilitating trade through faster clearance of cargo.”
The Authority requires importers to submit Import Declaration Forms (IDFs),sea manifests, security bonds, cargo declarations and exemptions through iCMS. At the port, piloting started with bulk cargo.
“Conventional cargo is currently on the ICMS system, so where there are challenges we are going to ensure they are rectified.
We know there are challenges with new systems. Sometimes they derail business but we are working to ensure the system is fully operational,” Tunoi said.
He said KRA has been training stakeholders, and continues to offer support for those who don’t understand the new system.
Tonui is confident that the tax agency will meet its targets this financial year.
This will be bolstered through embracing the single customs territory that will minimise the transit goods clearance time.
This has reduced unnecessary trade barriers and tariffs on transit goods, and ensures faster movement of cargo to the hinterland.
Abdumalik Hussein,Chief manager port operations at KRA said the agency is leveraging technology to seal revenue gaps that has had been experienced before.
The agency has been grappling with revenue targets for decades and with the leveraging on technology is a game change
“The use of technology and the proactivity of customs officers who have been vigilant to ensure contraband trade is contained at the port of Mombasa has made the port look less attractive for smuggling and international crimes,” he said.