Busia border post big boost for KRA revenue collection

Times Tower, the KRA headquarters

Times Tower, the KRA headquarters.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The one-stop border post (OSBP) in Busia generates more than Sh4 billion in revenue for the Exchequer annually, four years after it was launched.

Previously, it could hardly collect Sh500,000 a year, and that was blamed on several gaps that compromised revenue collection.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has said that 10 years ago, it could only collect Sh475 million. But collection increased tremendously as soon as the OSBP started operating in 2018.

Ms Pamela Ago, the KRA’s Western region coordinator, noted that centralising government services on the border is behind the increase in revenues.

“The project itself came with a number of technologies and process improvement, and with process improvement, it attracted a lot of people who opted to use the border for faster clearing of goods, which contributed to the increase in revenue collection,” she said.

In the 2019/20 financial year, she said KRA aimed to raise Sh2.8 billion but ended up collecting Sh3.1 billion. And in the subsequent year, the projections were Sh3.2 billion but they raised Sh3.5 billion.

This year’s target is Sh4 billion, and there are chances KRA could surpass it. In the first quarter alone, the agency has raised Sh3.2 billion.

“When we look at the trend, you will realise that every financial year, we surpass the target. This is an indication that the border is doing well,” she noted.

Besides revenue collection, the OSBP came with reducing transport costs, enhanced cross-border facilitation, stimulating regional integration and enhancing border security.

“This point came to facilitate trade across the border, where you only have one stop and cross to the other end. It has also reduced transportation costs and secured our borders,” she said.

“With a multi-agency approach in place along the border, we are able to detect any illegal thing that is coming into the country before it crosses the borders.”

A “smart gate”, she said, is also planned. Once goods are cleared, the gate will open automatically for the truck to proceed, and that she said will save time and bring in more money for the government.

She said goods-clearing time had shrunk by an average of 76 percent, adding that goods are now cleared within a day.

But smuggling of goods into Kenya continues, she said. Scanning machines have been installed and can detect smuggled. An enforcement team also patrols the Busia-Kisumu and Bungoma-Malaba roads to inspect goods and arrest anyone found transporting smuggled items.

“We are able to scan the goods that are coming to our country, and when we detect a problem, we open the container to verify the object” she said.

She added: “We are seeing cases of smuggling reducing and we will not relent until we stop the menace.”

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