KRA lines up 148 over-age vehicles for destruction at port
Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012
The Kenya Revenue Authority plans to destroy a fresh batch of 148 over-age vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa in an effort to reduce congestion at the various container freight stations (CFS) where the cars are currently held.
Ms Rose Gichira, KRA’s deputy commissioner for the southern region, said that the vehicles would be destroyed by crushing in line with the East Africa Community Management Customs Act.
“Any objection to the destruction of a particular motor vehicle should be raised within 30 days of this notice failure to which destruction will be done without further reference to any party,” she said in a notice dated January 23.
The taxman last year destroyed about 200 over-aged vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa and later disposed of them as scrap metal.
Shippers said the move is likely to ease off a row that has been simmering for nearly two years between CFS operators and the KRA as well as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) over the fate of seized cars lying at the port.
“We hope it will clear all the seized vehicles from the yards,” Mr Peter Otieno, a clearing agent, said.
The CFS operators claimed that the cars have been causing congestion at their yards and demanded action by the government.
The operators have accused Kebs and KRA of impounding more than 1,000 vehicles yet no instructions have been issued on how to deal with the matter, leading to congestion at their facilities.
One of seized cars is 21 years old, almost three times the maximum legal import age in Kenya, according to records released by KRA. Majority of the vehicles marked for destruction were destined for the Kenyan market with some having arrived at the port of Mombasa as early as 2005. Others were destined for Tanzania, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the import regulations, the government bans the importation of vehicles, which are more than eight years old except those of government interest such as those used for humanitarian aid or development projects, diplomatic service or those brought by returning citizens.
The rules by Kebs require that imported vehicles be right-hand drive and used cars be less than eight years old from the year of first registration.
Any vehicle that do not meet these standards are supposed to be shipped back to the country of origin or destroyed locally at the expense of the importer.
Last year, the government proposed that returning citizens seeking to bring in cars aged more than eight years first get clearance from authorities before loading them onto ships, to avoid losses should their applications be rejected.
But despite the stringent regulations, over-age cars have entered the domestic market over the years, with authorities pointing to cartels that forged documents at Mombasa port.
The destruction of the over-aged vehicle could help ease congestion at the facility which is currently experiencing major backlogs, which KPA attributed to delays by importers and clearing agents to collect their containers from the port in good time.
In an attempt to rein in on delayed collection of cargo, KPA last week waived storage charges on uncollected containers at the port that have stayed there for more than 100 days as at January 24.
KPA in December also said that as from this month, it will slash the period during which importers are allowed to keep their goods at the port without attracting surcharges.
The free storage period for domestic import containers will be reduced from 5 days to 4 days while that for transit import containers will be reduced to 9 days from the current 11 days, according to a scheduled released by KPA.
The port serves several neighbouring landlocked nations including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on it for shipments of vital commodities and oil.
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