KRA raised taxes with­out our in­put, im­porters protest

‘Levy raised on food, tyres and house­hold goods. The cost of do­ing busi­ness has gone up, forc­ing some clear­ing agents and con­tainer freights sta­tions to close down’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Coast - CHARLES MGHENYI @CharlesMghenyi

Im­porters, clear­ing agents and politi­cians yes­ter­day protested against the in­crease in taxes on im­ported cargo at the Port of Mom­basa.

The Kenya In­ter­na­tional Freight and Ware­hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion said two months ago the Kenya Rev­enue Au­thor­ity in­creased taxes for all im­ports with­out con­sult­ing stake­hold­ers.

Kifwa sec­re­tary gen­eral Bernard Simiyu said KRA raised taxes on food, tyres and house­hold goods.

“Some­one who once paid $200 (Sh20,000 ) for one tonne of gen­eral cargo, now pays $580 ( Sh58,000 ). This has made it im­pos­si­ble for clear­ing agents to clear goods at the port lead­ing to a back­log,” he said.

Simiyu said they have tried to en­gage KRA of­fi­cials in Mom­basa, but noth­ing has been done. “We had sev­eral meet­ings to pro­pose changes, but the next day you find a to­tally dif­fer­ent thing on the ground. The meet­ings can be termed just cos­metic,” he said.

Simiyu said the cost of do­ing busi­ness has gone up, forc­ing some clear­ing agents and con­tainer freights sta­tions to close down.

He spoke dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at Kifwa of­fices in Mom­basa. Simiyu was ac­com­pa­nied by MPs Ab­dul­swa­mad Nas­sir (Mvita), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and as­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cials.

Nas­sir, Twalib and Mwinyi said the of­fice of KRA Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral should be opened in Mom­basa to fast­track the process of cargo clear­ance.

“The KRA of­fi­cers in Mom­basa can­not make any de­ci­sion. They have to wait for di­rec­tives from Nairobi,” Nas­sir said. He said he will sub­mit a MoU to the Na­tional As­sem­bly to ad­dress the prob­lems im­porters face in an Act of Par­lia­ment.

Mwinyi said, “The port op­er­a­tions have been politi­cised, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for of­fi­cers to do their work in­de­pen­dently. Why do we need a pres­i­den­tial direc­tive at KRA and KPA?”

He said if the of­fice of the Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral can­not be opened in Mom­basa, then the south­ern re­gional man­ager should be given more pow­ers to make de­ci­sions.

“At the KRA Mom­basa of­fice of­fi­cers can­not make any de­ci­sion. A very small is­sue that can be re­solve by a clerk has to be re­ferred to Nairobi,” Mwinyi said.

Twalib said they will sup­port Kifwa to be given spe­cial po­si­tions in the boards of KRA, KPA and Kenya Mar­itime Au­thor­ity.

/ JOHN CHESOLi

MPs Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Ab­dul­swa­mad Nas­sir (Mvita) and Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) dur­ing the Kifwa press con­fer­ence in Mom­basa yes­ter­day

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