NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – The Senate on Wednesday began hearing a petition by small-scale traders and importers in Nairobi who are seeking the release of their consignments from the Port of Mombasa following implementation of tough cargo clearing measures by government regulatory agencies.
The Nairobi Traders and Importers Association Chairman Ben Mutai noted most of his members have in the last two months suffered losses due to the slow pace of clearance of goods at the ports of entry amid tightened regulations.
Mutai urged the government to consider an amnesty to comply with new regulations.
“We would like the Ministry of Trade to also give guidance of what they expect small-scale people to do in this country. KPA are currently holding over 2,000 containers. So is that well for this country when containers are just piling up at the Port of Mombasa for the last two months or so without clearing.? We want to ask it in order or is there an easy way of doing in this country,” he said.
The traders also called upon the government to stop the blanket destruction of imported goods at the port, saying that a few contraband goods in a container of consolidated goods should not warrant destruction of the whole consignment.
“We are traders who contribute about 90 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Probably this is the high time that we have the opportunity to present our grievances to the leadership through the Senate and other departments of what we do and the challenges and the hustles that we face doing our business. Although it has taken too long we thought it right that this time we highlight it,” Mutai said.
The Senate Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialization will submit its recommendations to the House on September 11, after receiving submissions from the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministries of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and the Ministry of National Treasury among other stakeholders.
The petition raises concerns about requirements by small-scale traders to use bill of lading by each trader, saying it will affect them adversely.
“This will lead to increased cost of goods since small traders deal with small quantities. We therefore urge the government to allow consolidation of identical goods with one bill of lading given to the entire container where contents are similar,” he said.