Kenya’s customs agency, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), is developing a system to permit the speedy clearance of goods in the East African Community (EAC). The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program is a Customs Reform and Modernization (CRM) initiative that will fast-track qualified private entities involved in the cargo clearance process including importers, clearing agents and transporters by not subjecting them to cargo inspection at a Kenyan port of entry.
Qualified AEO entities will thus enjoy post-clearance audit once their goods have been removed from the port and it is expected that with implementation of the program, this will help to eliminate delays in delivery of cargo imports into the country. The piloting of this project is expected to start in October 2012 and it is envisioned that once successfully implemented, the project will drive a reduction in consumer prices for both imported and locally manufactured goods.
The AEO program was adopted in Kenya in 2006 as a component of institutional reforms by KRA aimed at reducing the number of days that cargo takes before it is cleared. Since its introduction, the Kenyan AEO version has so far attracted membership from 64 companies that will be involved in the piloting of the program.
Besides the AEO program, other CRM initiatives that have been implemented by KRA include the web-based Simba 2005 System and its subsidiary systems - Cargo Management Information System (CAMIS) and Customs Oil Stocks Information System (COSIS) – that are also aimed at faster processing of customs procedures and increased accountability. The Simba 2005 System encompasses several modules including TRADE-X (for customs clearance management, LEUK (provides Customs agents and Ship agents with on-line regulatory information including tariff research), PAYBOX (provides on-line contact between banks and Customs) and ORBUS (facilitates electronic contact between Customs and Customs agents, Ship agents, carriers as well as regulatory government agencies).