Understanding the National Electronic Single Window System Act,2022

President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 21,2022 signed into law the National Electronic Single Window System (National Assembly Bill No. 15 of 2021)

The Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) was established through Legal Notice No. 6 of 2011. The Agency has the mandate of establishing and managing the national electronic single window system for purposes of facilitating trade. In order to give the Agency a stronger legal foundation and to anchor its mandate in law,  the National Electronic Single Window System (National Assembly Bill No. 15 of 2021) was enacted by Parliament and became law following presidential assent on June 21,2022.

This effectively repealed the Legal Notice No.6 of 2021 and thereby ensured that the functions and powers of the Agency are entrenched in an Act of Parliament.

The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the operationalization of the National Electronic Single Window System in order to facilitate trade; to establish the Kenya Trade Network Agency; and to provide for electronic transactions.

The NESWS- administered by KenTrade-serve as a single- entry point and platform for any person involved in trade and transport to:

  • Lodge documents electronically including import and export documents for processing and approvals.
  • Operationalizes the National Electronic Single Window System(NESWS) in order to facilitate trade.
  • Establishes KenTrade.
  • Provides for electronic transactions.
  • Recognizes the use of electronic signatures in documents processed in the System.

The new law also vest in KenTrade the legal mandate to facilitate the electronic  payment for fees & levies on transactions submitted through the System. Under the new law, the NESWS  may be used for domestic trade transactions.

Any person required to use the National Electronic Single Window System shall apply to the Agency in a prescribed form to be registered as a user of the System. The Electronic information submitted in the System shall have the same legal effect as physical documentation.

  • The enactment of the NESWS Act also impacts on the agency’s legal standing as it effectively establishes the KenTrade as Agency far removed from the entity with same name that was established via a gazetted legal notice. The new law provides for the establishment of Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) with several functions including to:
    • Establish and manage the System and facilitate trade.
    • Implement policies relating to the System.
    • The Establishment of KenTrade as Agency.
    • The new law provides for the establishment of Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) with several functions including to:
    • Establish and manage the System and facilitate trade.
    • Implement policies relating to the System.
    • Undertake & co-ordinate research & surveys in electronic commerce aimed at simplifying & harmonizing trade documentation.
  • Maintain an electronic database of imported & exported goods & services, the levies,fees,duties & taxes charged on imported/exported goods & services.
    • Plan, develop, monitor and evaluate training programmes for all stakeholders to ensure conformity with international best practices.
    • It entrench the mandate of the Agency in law, provide a legal foundation for harmonization of conflicting legal frameworks governing approval and processing of trade documents and efficiency in electronic processing of trade documents.

With the enactment of the Bill the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury shall now make regulations for the reform of KenTrade and its mandate.

In Conclusion, the enactment of the National Electronic Single Window System, Bill, 2021 into law is a shot in the arm to Kenya’s trade facilitation initiatives as it will entrench the mandate of the Agency in law, provide a legal foundation for harmonization of conflicting legal frameworks governing approval and processing of trade documents and efficiency in electronic processing of trade documents.



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