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Relief as State raises levy for steel, iron imports

By FRANKLINE SUNDAY | Jun 13th 2014 | 2 min read

Kenya: Steel millers and scrap metal dealers are set to win big as the Government moves to shield the local manufacturing industry from cheap steel and iron imports.

In the 2014/2015 budget presented before Parliament yesterday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced an increase on import levy by between 15 and 25 per cent for steel and iron imports respectively.

“Our steel mills are closing down due to unfair competition from cheaper imported iron and steel products,” explained Mr Rotich.

“To protect and create more jobs for our youth in the iron and steel industries, duty rates on a wide range of iron and steel products available locally will be increased from 0 per cent and 10 per cent to 25 per cent,” he said.

Rotich further stated that aside from cushioning the local industries from cheaper imports, the new import levies would raise an additional Sh2.6 billion annually in revenues.

Importers of refined industrial sugar and wheat also have reason to smile after the CS directed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to immediately scrap requirements  under the Duty Remission Scheme to pay customs bonds.

“Industry potential to expand and create jobs is held back by a number of administrative barriers and to encourage industrial expansion for more jobs, I have directed KRA to stop, with immediate effect, requirement for customs bonds by importers of refined industrial sugar and wheat,” said Rotich.

However, the prevailing sentiment among manufacturers is that the State is yet to lower production costs and in effect reduce the cost of doing business. “We expect from this year’s budget the Government will reduce the cost of doing business,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO Betty Maina.

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