KenTrade keen to enhance trade through NESWS platform

KenTrade keen to enhance trade through NESWS platform

Uasin Gishu,

Saturday April 1, 2023,


By Ekuwam Sylvester


The Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) has conducted a public participation forum in Eldoret to collect views from the general public on the implementation of the National Electronic Single Window System (NESWS) Act 2022.


In an interview with KNA during the forum in Eldoret attended by members of the business community drawn from across Uasin Gishu county, the Ag. KenTrade CEO David Ngarama said the agency is looking forward to enhancing facilitation of trade through automating trade processes in the country in response to the president’s call to digitize all government services.


“KenTrade is a parastatal under the National Treasury with a mandate to facilitate trade. We do this facilitation through implementation of what we call the National Electronic Single Window System (NESWS). It is a system that has brought together about 40 government agencies which are involved in one way or another in facilitating international trade through issuance of various permits and licenses,” said Mr. Ngarama.


The system puts all the government agencies in one platform such that if an importer or exporter wants to secure a license or a permit with the government agencies, all they need to do is log in to the KenTrade system to make an application.


“We incorporated those government agencies in our system so at the back end they are able to access one’s application and if it was the request for a certain permit or approval they can approve immediately. The importer or exporter will be able to access that approval from our system regardless of where they are operating from in Kenya or outside countries at any time of the day,” he noted.


The members of the business community led by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KNCCI) Uasin Gishu Chairperson Willy Kenei, raised various concerns including enhanced capacity building on the usage of the NESWS, incorporation of crucial services missing in the single window system like the Halal certification for agricultural commodities among others.


The CEO pointed out that the agency is committed to addressing the concerns raised by members of the public by continuing to identify the processes that are missing in the system and ensuring they are included in the Single Window System.


However many participants noted the system is slow and thus the agency need to enhance its capacity in terms of speed and efficiency.


Responding, Mr Ngarama assured that they have addressed the challenge by adopting a performance management system application to collect feedback and rectify any arising technical glitch on time.


“I can assure the public that we have implemented what we call an application performance management system which we launched recently and this system allows us to identify where the system has a problem at any given time such that we are able to pick that information directly from the application and resolve it instantly,” he said.


The KenTrade boss indicated that the agency has achieved a great milestone through the implementation of the National Electronic Single Window System which has seen automation increasing from about 14 percent to 90 percent since its launch in 2014.


“Before we went live with the system, most of the processes were done manually, if you needed for example a permit from any government agency like Kenya Veterinary Board, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, KEPHIS and others, you needed to physically visit those institutions. If you needed to make a payment for a permit or license you needed to go to the bank to make payment but since the implementation of the single window, we have seen the level of automation coming from about 14 percent to about 90 percent,” he said.


He further revealed that the agency currently processes about 1.2 to 1.3 million permits per year since the implementation of the NESWS in 2014 as compared to about 30,000 permits processed before.


Additionally, the amount of income the government agencies generate through the system which also has a payment gateway has increased from a paltry Sh200,000 to Sh2.3 billion annually as compliance levels also go up.


The single window system further received a huge boost following the recent integration between the NESWS and the new Integrated Customs Management System which ensures that if an importer has particular consignment that he is bringing into the country he or she does not need to have any physical document to clear.


“The process is such that, if a government agency needs to clear your consignment it does that online by logging into the single window system. If for example you are bringing sugar and a sugar directorate needs to clear your consignment, they just log in to and clear the consignment on our system,” explained Ngarama.


The single window system works in such a way that it sends the importer’s message to the customs system and the customs receives the message and is able to release the consignment. This saves on time and cost and at the same time removing the element of human intervention.


“What we are looking forward for is enhanced trade in this country, more businesses, more exports and imports even for government agencies in terms of raising their revenue through faster exports and imports processes due to shorter clearing time at the port and hence reduced cost of doing business as traders do not have to spend a lot of time at the airport or at the port,” he noted.


Courtesy K.N.A


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