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CS Macharia says cargo directive to help in tax evasion

Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has defended the Government's plan to have all imported cargo transported through the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Macharia yesterday told MPs the decision was arrived at following revelations that some importers were colluding with Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority officials to evade taxes.

The CS told the National Assembly Transport Committee of cases of importers colluding with Government officers to declare cargo meant for other destinations as meant for Mombasa.

“We have many such cases in Mariakani weighbridge," he said.

The CS was responding to protests from MPs who had described the plan as illegal, saying it had not been approved by National Assembly and did not involve public participation.

The MPs had also expressed concern that implementing the directive would see millions of people employed at Container Freight Stations and clearing and forwarding agents lose jobs.

But Macharia yesterday downplayed fears of job losses, arguing that that SGR directive would create more opportunities.

The committee directed the CS to engage stakeholders and ensure all interests were taken care of before implementing the policy.

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