WCO supports Kenya in planning for Time Release Study

18 May 2018

The WCO in collaboration with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) organized a 5-day Time Release Study (TRS) planning workshop to support KRA’s preparations towards conducting TRS. The workshop was held in Mombasa from 07th to 11th May 2018 and was co-funded by the GATF and the WCO ESA Project II (funded by the Finnish government).

In his opening remarks, the Commissioner Customs & Border Control representative of the KRA, stressed that KRA and in particular customs was very grateful for being availed an opportunity to gauge their service delivery against global best practice benchmarks. He committed to work closely with stakeholders to find a remedy to the various challenges affecting business processes. He added that KRA has progressively implemented various recommendations out of the previous studies and has reaped maximum benefits out of modernization and reforms. KRA is in the process of implementing Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) and the Integrated Scanner Management Solution (ISMS) to further facilitate the trade.

Representatives of various organizations participated in the workshop, like Customs, Kenya Maritime Authority, Port Authority, KENTRADE; Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives; Agriculture & Food Authority; Kenya Investment Authority; Kenya Railways; Plant Health Inspectorate; Cooperative Bank of Kenya; Kenya Ships Agents Association; Kenya Airports Authority; Kenya International Freight & Warehousing Association; Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Central Bank of Kenya; Northern Corridor Transit & Transport Coordination Authority; Maersk etc.

The WCO Experts presented the various instruments, tools and best practices developed by the WCO to assist its members in implementing trade facilitation measures. They explained the TRS concept and the TRS exercise from the stage of setting up a working group, the processes involved and the outcome of the study; this was supported by case studies from different countries, highlighting identified bottlenecks and trade facilitation initiatives that were taken up and were based on TRS recommendations. In addition, the WCO experts facilitated workshop participants to learn the techniques of Business Process Mapping and Analysis through theoretical sessions and through a practical walkthrough of clearance operations at the Mombasa sea port and the associated Container Freight Stations (CFS).

The participants recommended conducting TRS in 2018 at 17 Customs Stations at Mombasa seaport, Nairobi airport and major Land border posts in Kenya with involvement of all stakeholders concerned from all government agencies, private sector, trade partners, commercial operators, logistics operators etc. To carry forward this recommendation, the participants also prepared the necessary documents, like the TRS Working Group ToRs, the business process maps, the Work Plan, the Survey Questionnaires etc. All stakeholders noted that the planned TRS is timely, since iCMS is almost being rolled out and the study will establish a comparative base for future TRSs.

The active contributions in the workshop from all participants reflected their appreciation for the WCO TRS tool and its role in stakeholder engagement, coordinated border management and the implementation of mechanisms like pre-arrival processing and risk management. The workshop significantly enhanced the capacity of the participants from government agencies and private stakeholders to use TRS as a tool to rationalize border operations and to strengthen data analysis capacities for informed decision-making at policy, technical and operational levels. The need for collaboration among all relevant stakeholders was reiterated so that the TRS outcome can be utilized by all concerned. The participants from all stakeholders appreciated the involvement in the TRS planning workshop, expressed commitment for the proposed TRS and were looking forward to come together for the validation and analysis of the TRS data and the development of recommendations, for further improvements in release and clearance processes in Kenya.