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