The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has launched the UK funded Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS), which connects with Rwanda and Uganda to reduce cargo transportation costs along the Northern Corridor.
RECTS is a harmonized system connecting Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, with 24/7 Central Monitoring Centres (CMC) in Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali providing an overview of the entire region.
Yesterday’s launch follows a directive in July 2014 by the Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit in Kigali, which compelled Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to facilitate the seamless flow of transit cargo though a harmonised e–monitoring system of transit cargo along the corridor.
“Over the years, the cargo volume along the corridor has been increasing steadily, hence the need to facilitate quick movement of cargo without compromising customs security controls.
“Challenges such as revenue leakages, unfair competition in the business environment and increased costs of doing business necessitated a review of the current ECTS.”
– KRA Commissioner, Julius Musyoki
The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), have financed the new system which replaces the existing Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS), a very tedious system for KRA staff which was open to abuse.
According to TMEA’s CEO Frank Matsaert, RECT’s efficiency will ingrain fair terms of trade by creating a level playing field for both importers and local industries, helping to in eliminate the diversion of cargo destined for markets within the Northern Corridor through the port of Mombasa.
The new system, which will lower the both cost and time, is supported by 12 Rapid Response Units consisting of Customs and Police Officers along the Northern Corridor. It also utilises smart gates and automatic number plate recognition at the port gates and borders, eliminating manual data capture which reduces the waiting times at borders and port gates.
Through improved cross border coordination, transit monitoring as well as improved voluntary compliance with transit laws and regulations RECTS will also also ensure that enforcement cost are minimal resulting in better revenue collection.
The RECTS system is also designed to trigger an alarm whenever there is a diversion from the designated route or an unusually long stopover.
The decision by the Northern Corridor Heads of States to implement the RECTS is a move towards improving tax collection and employing advanced technologies to facilitate handling of cargo and data along the corridor.