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Uhuru directs KEBS to stop second tests on imported goods at entry points

An official inspecting cargo at the Inland Container Deport. Photo/PSCU.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 1- President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed government agencies to stop subjecting imported goods on further inspection at the point of entry.

Kenyatta gave the directive to Kenya Bureau of Standards(KEBS), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials to stop undertaking the inspections since their agents always inspect them before they are shipped in.

He however, said goods legitimately suspected to be entering the country illegally can be held for inspection.

“I ask them to honor prior inspection done by their appointed agents. Imported goods therefore, should not be subjected to additional inspection at the port of entry except for cases legitimately suspected not to conform to the set standards,” Kenyatta directed during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Narok town, following uproar from small traders.

“In my working tour of the last week I have received consistent feedback from the business community that Kenya Bureau of Standards despite its good intentions and in lawful discharge of its mandate has overly constrained the importation of goods by small and medium enterprises,” said Kenyatta.

This comes few days after the Head of State ordered the release of all cargo at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi, Nairobi within the next three weeks.

Kenyatta issued the directive on Monday after making a second impromptu visit at the depot following complaints from traders whose goods had been withheld at the facility for months.

“Traders have been lamenting that their businesses are suffering because of the delays that are here at the depot. We have agreed that all containers that have not be cleared be released within three weeks so that traders can continue with their businesses,” the President said.

The president, however, pointed out that part of the problem at the depot was caused by brokers handling consolidated cargo who have been trying to evade taxes.

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“We have also realized that some of the problems experienced here is because of those doing consolidation; they ship in goods, but they declare the container is heading to maybe Uganda or South Sudan in an attempt to evade tax,” said the Head State.

Kenyatta directed that all consolidators be vetted and gazetted by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to seal the tax loopholes.

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