Nairobi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Kenyan government has signed $3.5 million agreement with Tanzania−based Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa for the implementation of an electronic platform that will facilitate import and export of goods at Kenya's points of entry.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae said in Nairobi that implementation of the Single Window and National Payment System will eliminate malpractices and delays in clearance of cargo at ports, airports and border posts, reported Xinhua.
"The signing of this new agreement will complement the government's determination to address the high cost of doing business in Kenya, an issue that has been of major concern to both the government and the private sector for many years. These inefficiencies in doing business are expensive to the economy," Githae said.
He revealed that implementation of the electronic platform will ensure that it takes three days to clear goods at the ports, one day at the airports and one hour at border posts.
Kenya has fast−tracked the implementation of a national electronic platform to act as a single entry point for all parties involved in trade and transport of goods.
The platform will enable importers and exporters submit their documents electronically for processing and approval. Likewise, traders can pay fees alongside levies and duties to the government electronically.
The Kenya Trade Network Agency, a state corporation under finance ministry, will oversee the implementation of the Single Window and National Payment System.
The East African nation has grappled with a backlog of goods and services at points of entry due to cumbersome clearance processes that are paper based.
"Just to illustrate, the number of days it takes to clear cargo through the port of Mombasa averages 10 days, while at the airport it takes an average of five days to clear urgent shipments, which takes only eight hours flight to Kenya," Githae said.
He decried prolonged delays at border points before goods are cleared by custom officials. Githae noted that inefficiencies at points of entry have contributed to poor ranking of Kenya by the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index which indicated the country dropped from position 117 last year to 121 this year.
"This means that we are doing badly as a country on improving investment climate. The situation should be addressed urgently because it does not augur well for the country's competitiveness in the global arena," Githae said.
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