Import duty cut to Sh2.5m per container after outcry


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Import duty cut to Sh2.5m per container after outcry

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua with PS for Cooperatives and MSMEs Susan Mang’eni during a meeting with representatives of small-scale traders from Nairobi County. PHOTO | DPCS

The government has reversed a decision to increase import duty from Sh2.5 million to Sh3 million for a container of goods, yielding to pressure from traders who had complained about adverse effects on their businesses.

The decision followed a meeting between traders from 10 markets in Nairobi and the Ministry of Trade and Investments. The meeting also resolved that an unidentified quantity of goods belonging to local traders which had been held at the Port of Mombasa over standard concerns be released within two weeks.

The traders complained that they were being harassed by officers from the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KEBS), Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), over taxation, counterfeits, and import and export rebates.

Read: Food import bill overtakes machinery on duty waivers

“As a result of the engagement, a series of actionable recommendations was proposed: Implementing a fixed benchmarking fee of Sh2.5 million, from the current Sh3 million, for all containers at the port to standardize costs and increase transparency,” the ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

The traders had complained that the extra Sh500,000 import duty imposed per container was not justified and that they were not consulted before the decision was made.

All seized goods are to be released within two weeks upon verification and clearance by ACA, said the ministry. “The recommendations laid out, born from candid and constructive dialogue with our trading community, pave the way for a robust framework of cooperation, aiming to address and resolve the longstanding challenges faced by our traders,” Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano said.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who attended the meeting said that the KRA would negotiate with shipping lines and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to release the goods that have been held for weeks.

“KRA will negotiate with the KPA and shipping lines on the release of the withheld goods. On the withheld containers, the importers will pay the initial agreed duty, and KRA to expedite clearance of the containers for release to the traders by next week,” Mr Gachagua said.

He also asked the ministry to issue the traders with a single certificate of conformity and compliance from ACA and Kebs, instead of double inspection of goods by the two State agencies.

Read: Kenyan MPs want bigger say on EAC import tax decisions

Following cries by the traders, the Ministry also said it would rotate all ACA officers to maintain the integrity of inspections and enforcement measures.

Most of the affected traders deal in electronics, second-hand clothes, motorcycle spare parts, textiles, stationery, Computer and ICT accessories, and clothing.

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