The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has received surveillance equipment worth more than US$378,000 (KShs 40 million) to support its trade facilitation initiatives and enhance security at key border points.
In a statement, the Authority says the equipment comprises an X-ray baggage scanner, a patrol boat, patrol vehicles, Raman spectrometers, and field test kits.
The equipment was procured by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) from the Government of Japan in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Customs Organization (WCO) as part of customs capacity building initiatives in Kenya.
According to KRA, the equipment will be used to detect dangerous or contraband items concealed in luggage, parcels and/or cargo as well as support in monitoring and detection of chemicals and other components used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The equipment comes amid increasing global threats to security in the region that have prompted the need to invest in the security of customs authorities at border points.
KRA Commissioner for Corporate Support Services Dr David Kinuu, while acknowledging the receipt of the equipment, said the equipment will enhance operations of the authority’s Customs and Border Control Department.
“These tools will improve border security and boost customer service at the ports of entry due to their non-intrusive nature, said the Commissioner.
He added that the equipment will be installed in various points of operation such as Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Lake Victoria Sea Port, Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN), Kilindini Port and other critical border points.
Dr Kinuu, acknowledged JICA, UNOPS and the government of Japan for their support in boosting customs and tax administration in Kenya and noted that the baggage scanner, for instance, will significantly reduce physical verification of passenger baggage at JKIA.
“The non-intrusive baggage scanning technology will ensure that our customers are served more efficiently and expeditiously”, said the Commissioner.
Ambassador of Japan to Kenya Horie Ryoichi lauded the long-term collaboration and partnership between KRA and other key government agencies that has led to enhanced security at the Kenya border points.
“We are privileged to work closely with UNOPS and the Kenya government through KRA to support efforts in enhancing border security.”
In November 2019, an agreement was signed between JICA and UNOPS for procurement services of border control equipment and minor works in five countries in East Africa namely: Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
JICA engaged UNOPS to procure border control equipment for border surveillance and control by the East African Revenue Authorities (EARAs).
The project titled “Enhancing Trade Facilitation and Border Control Capacity in East Africa” was designed to enhance the capacities of customs departments of revenue authorities in trade facilitation and supply chain security through the provision of border control and surveillance equipment.
The acquisition of the equipment comes days after the Authority reported that it has surpassed its 2021/2022 quarter one financial target.
As reported by The Exchange, KRA collected KSh 476.646 Billion, surpassing the Financial Year 2021-2022, Quarter One (July – September 2021) revenue target of KSh 461.653 Billion by KSh 14.992 Billion.
The Authority said the performance reflected sustained revenue growth in the first three months of the year, with a performance rate of 103.2% and growth of 30%.
Despite the slow economic growth, KRA commenced the new financial year on an upward trajectory, after surpassing its July 2021 revenue target with a surplus of KSh 311 Million, after a revenue collection of KSh 152.854 Billion against a set target of KSh 152.543 billion, reflecting a performance rate of 100.2%.
The taxman maintained the upward trend in August 2021, collecting KSh 138.906 billion, a performance rate and growth of 103.6% and 29.5% respectively, above the set target and recording a surplus of KSh 4.816 billion.
The Authority further surpassed the September 2021 target of KSh. 175.02 Billion by KSh 9.886 Billion, after a collection of KSh 184.886 Billion, thereby registering a performance rate of 105.6% and a growth of 28.6%.