Treasury advised to create customs appeal tribunal
By Patrick Beja
Clearing and forwarding agents have urged Government to establish a customs appeal tribunal.
The agents asked Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to constitute the tribunal under the provisions of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 section 231 and Customs section 127 B of the Customs and Excise Act Chapter 472 laws of Kenya. Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) national Vice Chairman Peter Mambembe said Parliament made provisions in 2000 for establishment of the tribunal to handle disputes arising from valuation of imports.
"Despite the amendment, the minister has not established and gazetted a tribunal for purposes of resolving customs disputes," he said.
In a statement, Mambembe said failure to set up the tribunal has deprived importers, clearing and forwarding agents and the general public a forum to settle disputes arising from valuation of goods.
"Failure to constitute this tribunal has disenfranchised Kenyans responsible for the generation of Government revenue," he said.
Kifwa says establishment of the tribunal would improve competitiveness of clearing and forwarding agents among their peers in East and Central African states. They said the body would improve tax administration and boost the fight against corruption.
The agents said the tribunal would ensure a fair playing ground among traders in regional markets as disputes over fixing duties would be adequately and timely addressed.
"The use of market values applied by Kenya Revenue Authority is contrary to applying invoice values as per the World Trade Organisation. This has frustrated importers and clearing agents and caused delays in clearing cargo at the port.
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