Kenya Revenue Authority in New Bid to Stop Simba System Faults


Kenya Revenue Authority plans to contract two other network service providers to boost the efficiency of its customs IT system which suffered an outage early this week.

Traders were once again inconvenienced as the KRA Simba system which performs several customs clearing functions suffered a technical hitch on Monday afternoon. "This was occasioned by service outage of our main network link through our service provider. Efforts were made to activate a substitute link through an alternate service provider and services have since been restored," explained KRA Senior Deputy Commissioner in the marketing and communications department Kennedy Onyonyi. KRA uses two network links - Kenya Data Networks the main service provider and Jamii Telecom.

Senior Deputy Commissioner Information and Communication Technology Ezekiel Saina said the authority is working to put four network links in redundancy mode to ensure hitches on one system do not paralyze custom functions.

The system which was introduced nearly five years ago has suffered several teething and technical problems. Mid last month, businessmen and importers had to suffer more delays at the port of Mombasa when another hitch occurred.

The customs clearance system was meant to speed up clearance of cargo as well as eradicate corruption at the port and several hitches to it always end up causing a backlog of consignments. "There were no losses just that it is taking more time to clear cargo because of the backlog and that is why the system is still slow even after it was restored," stated Saina.

But Kenya Shippers Council Chief Executive Gilbert Langat said it will take a week to quantify the entire cost caused by the system downtime. The delays in clearing cargo lead to demurrage charges which are based on delay in delivery of consignment and extra storage charges among others. "Systems are unpredictable you can only minimize interruptions you cannot really do away with them entirely," said Langat "We hope to see the hitches reduced to a minimum because currently they happen almost on a weekly basis and something like a 2 hour delay can cost you a day's transaction."