By Donald Kogai
The World Customs Organisation (WCO) Secretary-General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya is set for a two-day visit to Kenya early next week.
The visit comes hot on the heels of the recently-concluded Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional workshop on cross-border E-Commerce held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Mikuriya will be in the country to assess ongoing Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs programs supported by the global customs body.
Mr Mikuriya has been serving as the Secretary-General of the WCO since 1st January 2009.
He provides leadership and executive management for the global Customs community’s priorities, including developing global Customs instruments, standards, and tools; securing and facilitating global trade; realizing revenues; building Customs-business partnerships; and delivering capacity building in support of Customs reform and modernization.
Speaking when he confirmed Dr. Mikuriya’s visit, Commissioner for Customs and Border Control (CB&C) Mr Kevin Safari said the visit by the WCO delegation underscores Kenya’s growing position as a leading Customs management centre of excellence in the continent.
At KRA, the Customs and Border Control Department Safari said, has been playing a pivotal role in fostering economic competitiveness, revenue collection and protection of society from illicit trade.
As part of KRA’s transformation agenda, Mr Safari disclosed that the Authority had made tremendous progress on the ongoing efforts to integrate international and regional Customs systems.
Among other projects, KRA has implemented an advanced Integrated scanner strategy focusing on non-intrusive inspection, seven One-Stop Border Points (OSBPs) and activated the web-based Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS), state-of-the-art technology for viewing the movement along the Northern corridor of sealed cargo and is used to monitor transit cargo in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
“At KRA, we shall be honoured to be hosting the WCO Secretary-General early next week; to showcase our customs management advances,” Safari said, adding that, “As part of the KRA corporate commitment to be a globally trusted revenue agency facilitating Tax and Customs compliance, we have been working closely with the WCO on various international best practice programmes.”
As part of the KRA 7th Corporate Plan (2018-2021), the Authority has been undertaking a strategic transformation agenda focusing on intelligence and risk-based Customs Processes to enable faster, cheaper and more convenient cargo clearance.
The WCO has been providing capacity building and technical support to KRA.
Last year, hosted a Revenue Package national workshop on the implementation of an Advance Rulings system for classification and origin, funded by the Finland Customs Capacity Building Project for East and Southern Africa (ESA) held in Nairobi.
Twenty-three Customs officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) participated in the workshop, which was facilitated by an origin expert from the WCO Secretariat and an accredited Revenue Package Expert.
Before joining the WCO, Dr. Mikuriya worked for Japan’s Ministry of Finance for 25 years. During his career with the Ministry.
He occupied various senior posts, which have given him broad experience and knowledge in Customs, trade, development, budget, and financial policies.
In addition to key posts in the government of Japan, the Secretary-General has also served as Japan’s Director of Salaries and Allowances to coordinate remuneration levels for the entire government workforce.
Dr. Mikuriya has a degree in law from the University of Tokyo and a PhD in international relations from the University of Kent.