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Kenya’s industrialists seek to ease goods clearance at points of entry

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) — Kenyan manufacturers said Wednesday they have developed standards aimed at enhancing efficiency and accountability at the ports and border points in the country.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) seek to ensure better and more efficient entry operations to facilitate trade and enhance the fight against illicit trade.

Betty Maina, cabinet secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade, and Enterprise Development who launched the standards expressed the government’s commitment to sustain the fight against illicit trade in the country, adding that the vice poses a great threat to the realization of the government’s development plan.

“I assure the private sector of the government’s commitment to continue enhancing efficiencies and accountability during inspection, verification, and clearance of imported goods at our ports of entry,” she said in a statement issued after the launch in Nairobi.

Maina said Kenya’s ports and other points of entry play a fundamental role in facilitating global trade, noting that the development of these SOPs is therefore an integral part of a successful quality system.

“They will provide information to perform a job properly and consistently to achieve pre-determined specification and a quality end-result,” said Maina.

The SOPs will provide a one-stop reference for all government agencies tasked with ensuring efficiency and accountability in the inspection, verification, and clearance of imported cargo at the port and points of entry in Kenya.

Wanyama Musiambo, deputy head of public service and the National Coordinator for enforcement multi-agency team against illicit trade said the fight against illicit trade must be enhanced and intensified.

“This is an attempt to bring all actors to harmonize work and reduce delays for the benefit of agencies, and manufacturers,” said Musiambo who was represented by Fridah Kaberia, acting executive director, Anti-Counterfeit Authority.

Mucai Kunyiha, KAM chairman noted that enhanced public and private sector partnerships will go a long way in ensuring that there is sustainability in the fight against the various forms of illicit trade in Kenya.

Kunyiha said lack of harmonized SOPs emerged as a major bottleneck in the execution of various anti-illicit trade enforcement operations in the country.

“The implementation of these SOPs will assist to increase efficiency and accountability at the ports of entry whilst cutting down on costs and time involved in the importation process,” he added.

The industrialists have also published the enforcement manual, which serves as a quick reference point on matters of illicit trade including protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

They have also published a practitioner’s guide for enforcement officers on combating illicit trade, which is currently in use as a reference tool that highlights the various forms of illicit trade in Kenya, the laws relating to the illicit trade in Kenya and the procedures for the investigation and prosecution of illicit trade. 

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