Motor vehicle importers have asked the government to give them a three months blanket waiver to import and reduce the backlog of vehicles stuck overseas.
Car Importers Association National Chairman, Peter Otieno said that the Kenya Bureau of Standard Kebs should give importers a waiver to import vehicles stuck in Japan, United Kingdom, Dubai, Singapore, and China.
Otieno said that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the ships and freight fraternity and the lack of vessels has caused a backlog of vehicles that are set to be imported.
The chairman said that the pandemic has seen vessels increase their freight charges and this has made importation expensive.
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“We have our members who have bought vehicles in Japan and UK and many other areas like Singapore and Dubai are not able to book them into a vessel because there are no vessels,” said Otieno.
“Cabinet Secretary Ministry of trade and industry we need a blanket waiver from January to March. We be allowed to bring in the 2013 units and if the cut-off lapses, you will not be able to bring your vehicle,” said Otieno.
He said that if they are not allowed to import the vehicles, yet they have taken money from the foreign exchange to purchase the vehicle, they shall incur losses and some people are not ready to refund the money.
He said that the importers and buyers risk losing their money if the vehicles are not imported on time.
“National Transport Safety Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority KRA, Kenya Ports Authority KPA, Container Freight Service and drivers will lose revenue if all those vehicles stuck in Japan, UK, China, and other countries are not imported within the timeline set by Kebs,” said Otieno.
He said that it will be wrong for Kebs to decline to give a blanket waiver to importers because people can easily backdate the year of the vehicle they seek to import.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry KNCCI chairman Mustapha Ramadhan said that the government should give the blanket waiver to avoid unnecessary loss of business.
Ramadhan said that the pandemic created a huge backlog and asked Kebs to extend the deadline to March 2021.