Customs Declarants play a crucial role in facilitating international trade by ensuring compliance with customs regulations and facilitating the smooth movement of goods across borders. In Kenya, Customs Declarants are employed both in the government sector, particularly within customs agencies, and in the private sector, including freight forwarding companies and import-export businesses.
This article delves into the starting salary, qualification requirements, and key duties and responsibilities associated with the role of a Customs Declarant in Kenya.
Customs Declarant Starting Salary
Government Sector: In the Kenyan government sector, the starting salary for Customs Declarants can vary depending on the specific customs agency, level of experience, and qualifications. Salaries typically range from Ksh 50,000 to Ksh 100,000 per month for entry-level positions. Government positions may include additional benefits such as medical insurance, pension plans, and other allowances.
Private Sector: In the private sector, Customs Declarants may receive competitive starting salaries, often higher than those in the government sector. Entry-level salaries can range from Ksh 60,000 to Ksh 120,000 per month, depending on the employer, industry, and the Declarant’s level of experience and expertise. Larger freight forwarding companies or multinational corporations may offer more lucrative compensation packages, including performance bonuses and other incentives.
To qualify for the position of a Customs Declarant, candidates generally need to meet specific educational and professional criteria:
Education: A minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent is typically required. However, employers may prefer candidates with additional education, such as a bachelor’s degree or diploma in customs clearance, international trade, logistics, or a related field.
Customs Training: Completion of customs-related training courses or programs offered by recognized institutions or industry associations may be necessary. This includes training on customs regulations, tariff classification, valuation, documentation, and customs clearance procedures.
Customs Certification: Obtaining relevant customs certifications or licenses may be required or beneficial, such as the Customs Agent License issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) or certifications from professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS).
Knowledge and Skills: A strong understanding of customs laws, regulations, and procedures governing international trade is essential. Customs Declarants should possess excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills to effectively navigate customs processes and interact with customs officials, clients, and other stakeholders.
Computer Proficiency: Proficiency in using customs clearance software, electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, and other digital tools for submitting customs declarations and managing customs documentation is necessary.
Duties and Responsibilities
Customs Declarants are responsible for facilitating the clearance of goods through customs checkpoints, ensuring compliance with customs regulations and documentation requirements. Key duties and responsibilities include:
Documentation Preparation: Reviewing commercial invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, and other shipping documents to ensure accuracy and completeness before submitting customs declarations.
Customs Declarations: Preparing and submitting customs declarations accurately and promptly using electronic customs clearance systems, ensuring compliance with tariff classifications, valuation rules, and import/export regulations.
Tariff Classification: Determining the correct tariff classifications for imported or exported goods based on the Harmonized System (HS) codes and other relevant classification systems to assess applicable duties and taxes.
Valuation Assessment: Calculating the customs value of goods for customs purposes, including assessing transaction values, determining valuation methods, and applying adjustments as per customs regulations.
Duty Optimization: Identifying opportunities to minimize customs duties, taxes, and fees through duty relief programs, preferential trade agreements, or other customs duty optimization strategies.
Compliance Monitoring: Monitoring changes in customs regulations, trade policies, and compliance requirements to ensure adherence to applicable laws and regulations and mitigate compliance risks.
Client Communication: Communicating with clients, importers, exporters, customs brokers, and other stakeholders to provide updates on customs clearance status, resolve customs-related issues, and address inquiries or concerns.
Customs Audit Support: Assisting clients in preparing documentation and responding to customs audits, inquiries, or investigations, ensuring compliance with customs requirements and facilitating the audit process.
Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of customs declarations, supporting documentation, and correspondence with customs authorities in compliance with record-keeping requirements.
Customer Service: Providing excellent customer service to clients by offering advice, guidance, and solutions to facilitate smooth customs clearance processes and resolve customs-related issues efficiently.
Customs Declarants play a vital role in ensuring the efficient and compliant movement of goods across international borders. Whether working in the government or private sector, individuals pursuing a career as a Customs Declarant in Kenya should possess the necessary qualifications, knowledge, and skills to navigate customs procedures effectively and facilitate trade operations. A successful career in customs clearance involves continuous learning, staying abreast of regulatory changes, and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in customs declaration processes.