Ensuring protocols and measures are in place is vital for the success of operations at points of entry and exit of any country.
Border Points in Kenya
Kenya has thirty-five points of entry and exit, commonly known as borders and share with five countries; Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, South Sudan and International waters (Indian Ocean). These points are categorized into three; land borders, maritime borders and air borders.
In the recent years, Kenya has adapted a coordinated border approach by border agencies which is geared towards enhancing service delivery in the context of seeking greater efficiencies over managing trade and travel flows, while maintaining a balance with compliance requirements with their individual legal mandate.
In the past ministries associated with border functions experienced robust challenges such as conflict and competition, hoarding of important information, overlapping mandates among others. The established of Border Control and Operations Coordination Committee (BCOCC) in 2014 was to ensure harmonized operations within the involved agencies and amongst them, is Kenya Revenue Authority, which is the lead agency for all land borders.
Functions of the committee include; formulation of policies and programmes for the management and control of Ports of Entry and Exit (PoEs), coordination of exchange of information between agencies responsible for the security and management of the borders at the designated ports of entry/exit among others .
Importance of Coordinated Border Management
The Kenya Revenue Authority plays an important role in Coordinated Border Management (CBM) and is hosted within the Customs and Border Control Department. The Department carries out a variety of roles to ensure efficient coordination between border agencies which include facilitating international trade by providing expedited clearance of goods through simplified and harmonized Customs procedures such as the Integrated Customs Management System ICMS), Baggage and Cargo Scanners, K9 dogs among others.
Protection of Society has been enabled by ensuring that contraband and prohibited goods which can compromise the health and safety of the society as well as domestic industries do not get into the country’s market. For restricted goods, proper documentation has to be presented to Customs officers for them to gain access into the country’s borders
The implementation of world-class Customs infrastructure, professionalism, and adoption of international best practices, including technology had led to a reduction in the time taken to clear cargo. This has drastically reduced customer complaints. In addition, the implementation of the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS), has been able to boost customer’s confidence because goods transitioning through the nation’s borders are tracked and security of their cargo is guaranteed.
The upgrade of land borders to One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) has ensured that all necessary border procedures were consolidated under one roof. It has been successful in improving the efficiency of cargo and customer traffic clearance, resulting in increased revenue collection for the authority. Currently Kenya has seven One Stop Border Posts ,which include, Busia, Namanga, Malaba, Taveta/Holili, Isebania, Lunga Lunga and the most recent one being Moyale OSBP, as Kenya aims to make trade between itself and her neighbours more efficient
KRA plays an indispensable role in controlling and managing the flow of goods across the Kenyan border as they ensure that the proper taxes and fees are collected, correct paperwork is present and correct procedures are followed. As an essential component of the Kenyan government, its presence at the border is fundamental in the smooth and efficient movement of goods across the borders.
By Esther Muthoka,
Marketing and Communication.