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KRA, KEBS finalise approval of cargo consolidators

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – The Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards are in the process of finalizing the approval to import as cargo consolidators in a move aimed at weeding out sub-standard goods.

KRA Commissioner of Customs and Border Control Julius Musyoki said the move was necessitated after it emerged some of the cargo importers had been duping small-scale traders.

“The context in which this issue came up, is that consolidators – allow me to use the word –  were duped by some people who they gave their consignments because these people they gave to clear their consignments for them misdeclared them,” said Musyoki.

“So what happened is we intercepted these consignments through scanning and the people who had done this withdrew and abandoned the consignments at the Port and therefore when the traders waited for their consignments over the months and were not getting feedback, they initiated this process including demonstrations,” he explained.

“This will ensure that each taxpayer/importer is responsible for security of the cargo and domestic taxes issues. Hence, any cargo which is found to be non-compliant, counterfeit or substandard will not lead to delays and/or inconveniencing of other taxpayers.”

Musyoki said the two agencies were due to meet on Tuesday afternoon to among others; finalise the consolidators list, and agree on how to communicate the deadlines and the commencement date for that process while clarifying what should be done for both marine and airfreight cargo.

Consolidated cargo refers to a wide range of products or general merchandise imported in small quantities or parcels belonging to several traders who have pooled or assembled together with their parcels to form one consignment.

Musyoki was speaking when gave KRA’s submissions to the Senate Committee on Trade handling the petition raised by Nairobi importers and small traders concerning the fight against counterfeit and contraband goods in Kenya.

The KRA Commissioner of Customs and Border Control said the Multi-agency team had been directed to stop the blanket destruction of imported goods at the Port of Entry following consultations between the Office of the President and the small traders.

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“This implied that in cases where few items were found to be non-complaint (either as counterfeit, substandard, prohibited goods etc) then the Multi-agency team would only destroy the items which are found to be non-compliant and release the rest of the compliant goods to the importer,” Musyoki told the Senators.

The petition raises concerns about requirements by small-scale traders to use the bill of lading by each trader, saying it will affect them adversely.

But the Musyoki explained KEB and KRA have developed a framework to regulation cargo consolidation management which will require each consolidator to get the master Bill of Lading for the shipper (in the consolidator’s name) and subsequently lodge a House Bill of Lading showing each importer’s goods.

“In the absence of the House Bill, then it means that the owner of the consignment is one. In the event of detention of contraband goods then the entire consignment may be liable for destruction. It, therefore, guarantees security of the trader’s/importer’s goods because it provides the identity of the owner of the goods in a consignment and assists in ensuring that taxes are correctly computed and paid for by importers,” he stated.

The Committee is on Wednesday expected to meet officials from the County Government of Nairobi after the traders complained of harassment.

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