NAIROBI, KENYA: The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has stepped up surveillance to bar car dealers from importing used cars above eight year limit.
In a memo to importers, returning residents, diplomatic staff, and the general public, Kebs said only right-hand drive (RHD) motor vehicles whose year of first registration of from January 1 2014 and later shall be allowed into the country effective January 1, 2021.
It warns that any vehicle registered in 2013 arriving after December 31 will be deemed not to comply with regulations and shall be rejected at the importers' expense.
“Vehicles exported to Kenya shall be expected to comply with KS1515:2000-Kenya Code of Practice for inspection of road vehicles while vehicles from countries where Kebs has an inspection agency shall be accompanied with a certificate of roadworthiness issued by the appointed agencies,” read a memo signed by Kebs MD.
Early this month, the importers of second-hand cars in Mombasa petitioned the government to extend the December 31 deadline for the entry of vehicles manufactured in 2013.
According to the eight-year age limit rule, vehicles made in 2013 will be banned from entering the country by the end of the year, since they would be more than eight years old.
Importers said the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the arrival of some units ordered in March and May, noting that the State should extend the deadline by three months to allow them to clear the backlog.
Car Importers Association (CIA) and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCCI) said a three months extension will help avert losses.
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Car Importers Association (CIA) National Chairman Peter Otieno said most of the vehicles were stuck in Japan United, Kingdom, Dubai, Singapore, and China.
About 20,000 second-hand vehicles are imported into the country monthly, according to the Kenya Ports Authority statistics.
Mr Otieno said the pandemic affected the schedules of ships and freight fraternity that has caused a backlog of vehicles that are set to be imported. He did not, however, state the number of importers affected by the rule.
He said shipping lines have also increased freight charges which have made importation expensive. “We have our members who have bought vehicles in Japan and UK and many other areas like Singapore and Dubai and are not able to book them into a vessel because there are no vessels,” explained Otieno.
“We need a blanket waiver from January to March. We should be allowed to bring in the 2013 units after December,” said Otieno.
He said the importers will incur huge losses if the state fails to extend the deadline. KNCCI Chairman Mustapha Ramadhan also urged the government to give the blanket waiver to avoid unnecessary loss of business, noting that the pandemic created a huge backlog.