Kenya strongly supports Phase 3 of the Columbus Programme

29 November 2011

Kenya strongly supports Phase 3 of the Columbus Programme

Kenya, 14-18 November 2011

During the 3rd Phase of the WCO Columbus Programme, administrations in co-operation with WCO experts, aim to assess the results of their reform and modernization efforts undertaken since the WCO Diagnostic Mission in the 1st Phase and the strategic planning and implementation phase, the so-called 2nd Phase of the Columbus Programme. Thus, Phase 3, the so-called „Monitoring and Evaluation Phase”, offers an opportunity to assess the reform progress and recommend adjustments to the ongoing modernization activities. It is in no way the end of the modernization process but rather an opportunity to pause and reflect on the progress achieved thus far, as well as to better define the future.

The Phase 3 methodology was endorsed by the 2nd Capacity Building Committee Meeting in May 2011 (see Doc. HC0022). Among WCO Members who expressed an interest in piloting the Phase3 methodology in a further mission (after one that had taken place in Mongolia) was Kenya. This 2nd WCO Phase 3 mission ever, was carried out on 14-18 November 2011 and looked at the progress since the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had received their Phase 1 Diagnostic report in October 2006. Kenya is also part of the Regional EAC Programme and, as such, has received additional support since 2006 from the WCO and other Members.

The Phase 3-mission was carried out by Mr. Matthew Bannon from the WCO Secretariat and supported by many colleagues from KRA, as well as by the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) of the ESA Region. A self-assessment exercise had been carried out by KRA before the mission and helped structure the contents of the mission.

As part of the mission, the WCO expert met with many stakeholders involved in Customs border management – both from within Customs as well as from the Private Sector and other external stakeholders. Several examples of progress in many areas of KRA’s responsibilities between 2005 and 2011 were found. A high number of WCO recommendations contained in the Diagnostic Report in 2006 had been successfully implemented. One guiding principle well documented by the KRA was the so-called „Revenue Administration Reforms and Modernization Programme (RARMP)”. The RARMP is a KRA-wide program made up of seven projects, all impacting on Customs’ services:

  • Customs Reforms & Modernisation Project
  • Domestic Taxes Reform & Modernisation Project
  • Road Transport Reform & Modernisation Project
  • Investigation & Enforcement Reform & Modernisation Project
  • Business Automation Project
  • Human Resources and Revitalisation Project
  • Infrastructure Development Project
The Commissioner’s Office was able to provide figures that could be used as indicators of progress.. Further examples of progress could also be demonstrated by some findings from the OECD and the Worldbank:
Revenue collection rose from 229 billion Kenyan Shillings (USD 2.9 billion) in 2003/04 to 534 billion Kenyan Shillings (USD 6.7 billion) in 2009/10, which translates toan average annual revenue growth of 15%.

“…The payoffs for [identifying and correcting] key bottlenecks in the supply chain can be large. For one major trucking company in Kenya, for example, improvements in trade and transport facilitation had translated into a 50% increase in vehicle utilization – from 8,000km to 12,000km per truck, per month.”

World Bank, "The Drought and Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa", Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit Africa Region, World Bank, Geneva, September 2011

According to the findings of the WCO Phase 3 mission, a combination of several factors has led to KRA making significant progress over the past five years. These factors include:

  • Political support and confidence, including through the RARMP;
  • Strong and visionary leadership;
  • Stable and professional management group;
  • Planning with clear objectives and roles;
  • Funding linked to specific outcomes;
  • Credible and experienced expert advice; and
  • Training and development designed for the Kenyan Customs environment.

The mission started and ended with in-depth discussions with the highest management of KRA. A draft report containing key findings and recommendations on the next steps to continue the reform and modernization progress was discussed and will now be finalized by the WCO in close consultation with KRA.

The WCO Secretariat wishes to congratulate KRA for their achievements as well as to thank them for their strong commitment shown towards further developing Phase 3 of the WCO Columbus Programme.