Kenya seeks to weed out tax evaders, improve cargo clearance

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-27 23:02:17|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Monday his government will vet and register all import and export cargo consolidators to weed out tax evaders.

Kenyatta who made the second impromptu visit to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi within a span of two days said only genuine consolidators gazetted after the vetting process will be allowed to work with the small scale traders in the import and export business to avoid delays in the clearance of containers at the ICD.

"There are people who engage in consolidation. They bring goods in containers, claiming they are transit goods while their real motive is to evade paying tax. That is not right and we will not allow it," he said in a statement issued after the visit.

Kenyatta who held a crisis meeting with stakeholders said the visits follow complaints by traders whose goods have been confiscated.

He assured small scale traders that their goods will be cleared on time once they adhere to the laid down procedures.

"Many times our traders operate without knowledge of the government procedures and we would like all boardroom decisions disseminated to the traders," President Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta, however warned importers that the government will not relent in its efforts to stem out the importation of counterfeit goods into the country.

He said counterfeits were a major hindrance to the development of local the manufacturing sector thereby denying millions of young Kenyans employment opportunities.

During his visit on Sunday, Kenyatta made an impromptu inspection visit of the ICD during which he called for an urgent stakeholders meeting which was held on Monday to resolve the cargo impasse at the facility.

During the meeting, it was established that the delay in the clearing and release of the close to 1,000 containers was largely due to insufficient paperwork including cargo that is destined for the local market but was declared as export goods by deceitful importers in attempts to evade paying requisite taxes.

The stakeholder meeting, which brought together all state and non-state agencies operating at the terminal, resolved to have the containers processed and released to the owners in the two to three weeks.

The meeting also agreed to institute reform measures that will reduce cargo clearance period at the depot to a maximum of four days.