The Kenyan Ministry of Health and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has signed a deal that will see the development of an information system e-portal for Port Health Services. The e-portal will help improve reporting and information sharing among all Ports of Entry (PoE) and the ministry headquarters.
Khadija Kasachong the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health said: “This ministry is one of the 13 key Government Agencies being relied upon for successful achievement of Mombasa Port Community Charter Targets. The Charter, which was launched by H. E. the President on 30thJune 2014, aims at trade facilitation through effective inter-agency collaboration. The targets include faster automated services by 31st December 2014. Automation of Port Health Services will contribute towards achieving this”.
The purpose of the charter is to among others establish a permanent framework of collaboration, targets and timelines and the collaboration of government agencies at the port will immensely contribute to trade facilitation.
TradeMark East Africa Kenya Country Director Dr. Chris Kiptoo added, “The portal will be directly targeting importers and exporters whose goods have to undergo a mandatory check by Port Health officials at the point of entry before they are allowed into country. Traders can apply directly through the online system at their own convenience as long as they have access to internet saving them time and delays. Additionally, the traders will be able to receive periodical notifications on the status of their application as opposed to them having to physically visit port health offices to inquire about applications.”
Critical to facilitation of trade, the port health e-portal will enable traders to apply and have approval for the mandatory Export Health Certificate (ECG) online. It will also enable officers to access lodged documents electronically 24/7 while providing for them an interface with Kenya National Electronic single Window System (KNESWS) which will lead to faster issuance of Import and Export Health certificates, hence enhancing trade facilitation. The development of the online portal will be facilitated by TMEA as part of its mandate to promote regional trade and economic integration.
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) will provide technical and financial support to the Division of Environment Health Port Health services Unit. In enhancing trade environment, increasing market access and enhancing trade environment and increased competitiveness, TMEA is spearheading adoption of ICT within key government and non-government institutions to transform their processes and increase efficiencies.
As part of the Kenyan government digitization process, the health services ePortal will also be integrated with other government agencies including Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) via an interface with the Kenya National Single Window currently in development by the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE).