KRA steps up measures to contain smuggling of goods in the Coast

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)  Southern Region Coordinator Joseph Tanui. KRA has increased its presence in the Coast region by opening more offices in a bid to increase revenue collection and curb smuggling and contraband.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi I Nation Media Group

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has increased its presence in the Coast region by opening more offices in a bid to increase revenue collection and curb smuggling and contraband. 

New offices were opened in Kwale and Kilifi counties as the KRA seeks to bring services closer to the people and deal with tax evasion and losses, said KRA Southern Region Coordinator Joseph Tanui. 

“We have opened domestic taxes and customs offices in Kwale and Kilifi counties and we have plans to make our presence in Tana River County soon. The offices will assist in revenue collection and increase our customer satisfaction score in the future,” Mr Tanui said. 

peaking at the start of Taxpayer Month (October) and Customer Service Week at the KRA’s offices in Mombasa, he said the agency is working to improve transparency in doing business by automating most of its services. 

“In the 2019/2020 financial year, the Southern Region managed to collect about Sh480 billion from both domestic and customs taxes, while last year we surpassed our target by Sh12 billion to collect Sh492 billion,” Mr Tanui said. 

“This financial year, we hope to exceed our target of about Sh532 billion. That is why we are coming up with such measures.”   

The KRA is deploying more staff to coastal counties as illegal businesses increase along coastline routes used by tax evaders to sneak goods to and from Tanzania. 

Besides new offices, the KRA wants to end trade malpractices by banking on the Holili and Lunga Lunga one-stop border posts (OSBP) to collect more revenue. 

The KRA says it has registered 55 percent growth in revenue due to increased efficiencies at the Lunga Lunga OSBP. 

It had collected Sh810 million between September 2021 and April 2022 against a target of Sh553 million. 

Traffic at Lunga Lunga post grew by 166 percent from September 2021 to January 2022 compared with the same period the preceding year as the economy recovers from the effects of Covid-19. Incoming traffic represents over 65 percent of the OSBP traffic flow. 

Some 2,675 import entries were recorded in September 2021 to January 2022 compared with the previous year, which had 1,048, while exports recorded 1,210, up from 984 previously. 

The government has been grappling with contraband and smuggling in the coastal region because of porous borders with Tanzania and Somalia.    

The Shimoni and Vanga border points were identified as some of the notorious areas for trade in illicit goods and substandard counterfeit products.

The trade has also robbed the government of millions of shillings in revenues due to tax evasion.

Data from the National Crime Research Centre showed that in 2020, sugar accounted for nearly half of the goods smuggled across Kenya’s porous borders, with 48 percent of all the incidents of smuggling involving the product and 789 cases were reported in 2019.

Other popular products smuggled into Kenya include alcohol and illicit brews (28 percent), illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin (25.2 percent), cereals (23 percent), clothes, shoes, and handbags (12.8 percent), charcoal/coal (12 percent) and wheat and maize flour (11.3 percent). 

Sugar is mainly smuggled through eight counties – Garissa, Kajiado Narok, Migori, Mandera, Kwale, Trans Nzoia and Busia.

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