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Small traders (SMES) are set to benefit from a joint initiative between Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) following the launch of a Container Freight Station (CFS) by his Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta at the KRC Transit shed, Nairobi.
The shed also known as ‘Boma line’ has been set to up as part of government efforts to facilitate and enhance ease of doing business. The facility will also reduce cost of doing business for small traders.
Speaking during the event held at KRC Headquarters, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the launch of the facility was the beginning of a long journey towards ensuring that all traders have an equal opportunity to run their businesses in the country. He said that the small traders will now not pay the USD1000 as container deposits which will subsequently reduce the cost of doing business.
CS National Treasury and Planning Hon. Amb Ukur Yatani said that the facility will serve traders in Nairobi and its environs while facilitating easy access of their goods. He said that small traders will not be required to travel to the Inland Container Depot (ICDN) Embakasi, to collect their goods.
“Establishment of the ‘Boma line’ is part of initiatives to bring services closer to taxpayers and facilitate them to conduct their business effectively and efficiently. For instance, going forward traders from far areas such as Nanyuki and Sagana will no longer incur huge transport costs to ferry their goods from ICDN as this shade will be easily accessible. This savings will definitely be ploughed back into the business”, said CS Ukur Yatani
Cargo for the SMES will be transported from Kilindini Port to ICDN, Embakasi, and later transshipped to the Transit Shed using Metre Gauge Railway (MGR). At the shed, consolidated cargo will be stripped from containers and stored in Customs shed while being arranged according to their nature with marking for easy tracking and identification.
The verification by Customs officers and other Government agencies will be done on these specific single goods as opposed to the typical verification of a whole container. This therefore means that cargo verification process will be simplified and there will be a great improvement on the verification turnaround time.
Traders with goods of Customs value of USD 10,000 or less will now be allowed to make an import declaration on a simplified Mobile App or a direct assessment entry, while those with goods of Customs value above USD 10,000 will clear through a registered clearing agent in the Customs system.
The Commissioner General further said plans were underway to progressively increase additional warehouses as volume of trade increases and also train the traders on how to clear cargo without the assistance of clearing agents.
“Adoption of technology in our key operations as a revenue authority has made it easier for taxpayers to access our services hence elimination of intervention from third parties. This is part of our initiative of bringing services closer to the people. We want them to know that we are here to serve them better, said the Commissioner-General.
The Transit Shed is expected to serve approximately 7, 500 small traders in Nairobi and its environs and will accommodate approximately 100-40 foot containers per month raking in an approximate revenue of Ksh110 Million.
The number of containers being cleared at the facility is later expected to increase to approximately 300 containers per month during the post Covid period. This will enable the country to collect revenue of approximately Ksh1 Billion. The shed is expected to operate on a 24 hours basis during the post Covid-19 period.