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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,16TH AUG 2018-For along time those wanting to clear import goods from the port of entry have had to go through tedious and sometimes expensive procures to attain their goal.However this aught not to be that way.This is why the Kenya revenue Authority (KRA) has sought to simplify the entire process ensuring that things change for better.
Here the procedure is:
Customs procedures require importers to make a self-declaration and to deposit the equivalent tax as per that declaration.
No declaration is processed unless there is evidence that self-declared taxes have been paid.
The next step involves evaluation of the self declaration by Customs. This involves assessment of declared values and quantities against the KEBS Certificate of Conformity (CoC) and other supporting documents. Since January 2016, it is a mandatory Customs practice that no declaration can be passed where its details do not tally with the KEBS CoC.
The next stage involves physical verification in cases where cargo is targeted for that purpose. If such targeting involves checking for Quality Standards, KEBS would instruct KRA to detain such cargo to await quality inspection results. Such cargo cannot be released until KEBS gives the greenlight.
For cargo that is subject of KEBS quality inspection, Customs release can only happen after KEBS has endorsed approval of release on the Customs declaration.
KRA has strenuously worked to strengthen Customs Clearance processes including by linking them to the KEBS PVOC program. If there are instances noted where individual staff through collusion have breached KRA internal procedures relating to Customs Clearance, these shall be handled in accordance with prescribed disciplinary procedures.
KRA role in strengthening the PVOC programme
KRA played a key role in supporting KEBS in strengthening the Pre-verification of Conformity with Standards (PVoC) programme in the following ways:
KRA made Certificates of Conformity with Standards to become mandatory for declaration evaluation with effect from January 2016. This meant that since that date, CoCs became more important than commercial documents filed by the importer as the basis for checking declaration accuracy.
KRA has since adoption of the CoC as a mandatory document, identified several instances where CoC details differed with physical inspection details or where CoC values appeared abnormally low. All the instances totalling twelve (12) have been brought to the attention of KEBS with recommendation for action against the inspection agents.
KRA was instrumental in pushing for inspection agents to be made accountable for witnessing the stuffing and sealing of containers at source. The purpose of this requirement was to secure the goods supply chain and remove opportunities for substitution or mixing of inspected goods with those not inspected.
KRA has been instrumental in lobbying for the repeal of Legal Notice No. 78 of 2005 which permitted the importation of un-inspected goods for what has been referred to as “destination inspection.” Our three-year campaign in this respect bore fruit recently with the publication of Legal Notice No. 127 published on 19th June, 2018. The new notice prohibited the importation of un-inspected without authority from the Cabinet Secretary for Trade & Industry.