A new directive by KRA has caused a crisis at the Mombasa port as over 6000 imported cars are yet to be cleared.
In the directive, KRA ordered that no vehicle should leave the port before it is fully registered and issued with a logbook.
In the past, an electronic sticker from the NTSA and number plate registration were all one needed to get their car cleared.
The backlogs in clearing the vehicles have led to the importers paying extra storage fees and losses that might run into millions of shillings for commercial vehicles importers.
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As reported by Business Daily, Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) national vice chairman M. Farooq wrote a letter to KRA’s commissioner of custom services.
The letter read in part, “We are experiencing delays in releasing vehicles due to the fact that the process of printing and signing of the logbooks takes a lot of time, hence putting importers in the same problem of paying extra storage charges due to this process.”
“We would like to request your good office to allow us to release the said vehicles on the production of an e-sticker and the registration number to save us from the great losses due to unforeseen delays that are beyond our control,” he continued the letter dated March 14 which was also copied to NTSA.
KRA introduced this rule in a bid to curb tax evasion by unscrupulous traders who sold imported cars in the local market after falsely declaring that they were headed for neighboring countries Uganda and Rwanda.
“You are hereby advised to release all motor vehicles that have been duly registered, e-sticker affixed on the windscreen and the registration certificate (log book) issued,” explained the acting KRA chief manager for port operations, Abdi Malik, in a letter to the head of KRA’s CFS operations.
“Please ensure that all motor vehicle details, including but not limited to chassis numbers, engine numbers and the allocated number plates are captured in the Simba 2014 System and all taxes paid before the release of the motor vehicles,” Malik added in the letter dated March 13.
Motor vehicle importers warned of a bigger crisis if the hitch is not addressed.
A shortage of number plates is also compounding the car clearance crisis at the port of Mombasa.