EATTA Progress Update_April 2013

1.0. Meeting Between Kenya Revenue Authority and  EATTA

In the last update from the secretariat we informed you that we had written to KRA seeking an appointment to raise concerns on various issues of concern to the tea industry.  We obtained an appointment for 20th March 2013 and together with a few members of the trade, we went and met with the Senior Deputy Commissioner for Southern Region as well the Line Managers responsible for issues of concern to the tea industry.

The issues discussed in the meeting were;

  • Delay in cancellation of VAT bonds
  • Delay in reactivating archived T 810 forms
  • Lack of staff to release customs holds of containers

The outcome of our discussion was as follows:

a). Delay in cancellation of VAT bonds

Some of our members have been following up with KRA for cancellation of bonds going back 7 years. KRA informed the people in the meeting that part of the problem maybe exporters who fill the certificates of exports documents manually instead of the required online process. The Deputy Commissioner in charge of port operations committed to look into the matter and in a further follow up meeting held on Thursday 4th April 2013 a way was found to sort out the outstanding bond cancellation for one of our members.

The secretariat will regularly follow up with the Deputy Commissioner – Port Operations to ensure that the outstanding bonds are cancelled.

b). Reactivation of T810

Tea buyers buy none Kenyan teas in the Mombasa Auction and in some cases the teas may remain in the Transit warehouse for extended periods waiting to be re-exported. A concern raised in the meeting was that the T810 documents for import entries are archived. Reactivating the archived T810’s takes very long causing delays in preparation of export entries.

KRA committed to assign a person to specifically be responsible to reactivate the import entry documents. The exporters were advised that the re-activation window is limited so they need to be keen to process the export entries immediately they request for re-activation to avoid being timed out. The EATTA team requested that the activation of T810 should have some flexibility to make amendments in cases where the wrong number of packages is keyed in.

c). Lack of staff to release container customs hold

EATTA members raised a concern with the lack of adequate staff at shed 5 in the port to release custom holds on containers ready for export. It was reported that because the empty containers are sometimes located

A long distance from the port an exporter needing to export may require to work late into the night to get the containers into the port. On many occasions the customs officers are not available to release the customs holds.  It was agreed that the solution to address the problem was for the exporters to communicate with officers at shed 5 on the day they expect to bring in containers after hours. That way the revenue officers will be on standby to offer services to the exporters. KRA also requested that as much as possible exporters should try and bring the containers for release of hold during working hours.

e). Failure of Simba System

On many occasions the Simba system experiences downtime causing delays in processing exports. KRA officers informed EATTA that the reason for downtime is the process of upgrading Simba that is ongoing. As a solution it was agreed that when the system upgrade is happening KRA will be notifying EATTA when scheduled upgrades are due. Another problem is the slow connectivity of computers in shed 5. This is being addressed by KRA. A longer term solution is a seamless connection between KWATOS and SIMBA.

2.0. Slow Speed  in  Selling of Tea

Some buyers have raised concern about the speed that brokers are selling tea in the auction. In the last Tea Etiquette workshop held in 2011 one of the resolutions passed was that brokers need to maintain a speed of selling five lots per minute.

Starting from sale 6 the secretariat has been monitoring the sale of tea through the auction so as to maintain a level of efficiency. This  link  shows an analysis of the brokers’ average speed for each of the auctions between sale 6 and 13.We urge all brokers to maintain the standard of five lots per minute particularly during this season where there is a huge amount of tea on offer in the auction. Download Report

3.0. Standards and Certification

East African Tea trade Association places top on the fundamentals of the Food Safety Management System across the food chain. This is to enable the trade attain competitive advantage in the global market.  A capacity building program funded by Trade Mark East Africa since 2011 has been conducting numerous awareness and internal audit training workshops to East African tea producer members. The program has to date, trained over 500 production personnel from member factories with aim of implementing these standards. The program is on its last quarter of implementation with possibilities of further funding considerations.

 4.0.Automation

During various workshops to sensitize members on automation, the EATTA members agreed to automate its redundant business processes along the chain to improve the efficiency and guarantee transparency but continue with the manual outcry system.  Among the initiatives being considered for proposals during the subsequent forums include;

                                 i.   Bar cording of tea – a presentation to be done by GS1 to the membership

                               ii.    Data Capture and Display of auction proceedings

                              iii.    CCTV installation for Live coverage

                             iv.      Standardization of file input/output formats

 

5.0.Tea Sales Payment System (TSPS)

The Adhoc-Committee on TSPS has been working with the three banks Equity Bank, CFC Stanbic, Bank Citibank in refining their respective Tea Sales Payment System as an alternative settlement platform. EATTA formulated a technical team comprising of EATTA, Equity Bank, CFC Stanbic Bank Citibank to work on the technical modalities of integrating the payment platforms. The two banks are ready to test out the integration model of the payment systems to members before proceeding to the live pilot phase. It is anticipated that testing will be done between May and June 2013.