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Late Diaspora car waivers to be rejected

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 23 – Kenyans returning from overseas with car imports that exceed the eight-year limit have been advised to apply for waivers before shipping the vehicles to avoid losses.

Speaking when he chaired a meeting with officers from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Ministry of Industrialization Permanent Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho said, this would save them from heavy demurrage at the port of Mombasa and the costs of re-shipping the vehicles back to the countries of origin when their applications are rejected.

He said the National Standards Council had set up a Technical Waivers Evaluation Committee to deal with applications in line with the approved criteria.

"The membership of the committee is drawn from KEBS and Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Ministry of Roads," Mr Kibicho said.

KRA and KEBS have locked horns over the importation of second hand cars with the taxman claiming to be losing millions of shillings in a racket involving the sale of such vehicles illegally imported with the support of the standards body.

The cars, whose volumes have risen to more than 800 units annually, are over the eight-year legal limit allowed for used cars and are shipped in through a legal window that was opened in a gazette notice five years ago to assist citizens returning back home.

KEBS Managing Director Joseph Koskey said that in the event that the applications are many, the committee would review them depending on the order they were made to avoid an influx of such vehicles into the market.

"Once applications for the exemption on the eight-year rule are rejected, then the person bringing it in will be required to ship their vehicles back to the countries of origin," Mr Koskey said adding they would not be allowed to sell these vehicles as scrap to metal dealers.

Among beneficiaries of the waiver are Kenyan citizens returning home with vehicles they have owned for at least two years.

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This category of applicants has to produce a logbook, a copy of their passports and have to get clearance by Interpol.

Under the affirmative action for disabled people and in the spirit of People with Disability Act, the committee will also consider customized vehicles for disabled people being imported for use by such an individual.

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