The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Customs and Border Control Department got a boost in its marine and enforcement capacity with the recent deployment of a new ultra-modern speed boat in Lamu to enhance maritime border security.
The acquisition of the boat from the Kenya Shipyard Ltd, coincided with the decision by the Governments of Kenya and Somalia to engage in a phased re-opening of sections of its common border, to promote cross-border trade in both countries.
The commissioning of the boat will go a long way to support and complement the already existing Multi-Agency marine assets, to secure the maritime border along the Kenyan coast in general and Lamu specifically from the threat of illegal trade.
KRA received the boat christened KRA008, handed over by Ms Cynthia Simayo Paita, a Senior Supply Chain Management Officer from Kenya Shipyard Ltd.
KRA Deputy Commissioner for Border Control and Enforcement, Chege Macharia said the boat will boost the fight against smuggling along the Kenya-Somali Border, particularly during the re-opening of the border, as it will enhance surveillance in turn leading to more legitimate trading activities.
“Today marks a major milestone for KRA in its effort to build capacity in Maritime enforcement, and execution of its border control and security mandate,’’ the Deputy Commissioner said.
Macharia added the critical maritime asset will provide the much-needed support and impetus to combat illicit trade practices such as smuggling, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, human trafficking, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and terrorism and equally act as a deterrence to transnational organized crime.
This, he said will encourage fair trade practices and protect legitimate trade. The acquisition of the boat will complement existing marine assets in KRA and will boost critical and efficient operations between the new Lamu Port and its environs.
“As you are aware, the government has invested substantially in the promotion of the Blue Economy and KRA is a key stakeholder and commits to playing its rightful role to harness emerging opportunities,’’ he added.
He went on: “KRA is cognizant that the Blue Economy has a great potential to contribute to higher and faster GDP growth in Kenya and position the Country as an investment destination in the maritime domain.”
He noted the strategic decision by KRA to invest and strengthen maritime enforcement capacity is expected to yield exponential revenue growth and enhance trade facilitation for both local and international trade at the Lamu Port.
He noted that KRA is committed to continuing working with all stakeholders in sustaining and enhancing strategies to protect the maritime domain and realize the enormous benefits expected to accrue from the sector.
By Sadik Hassan and Andrew Hinga