Clearing and Forwarding agents oppose new tax system

The port of Mombasa. Photo/COURTESY
The port of Mombasa. Photo/COURTESY

The Kenya International Freight Forwarders Association (KIFWA) has called for the immediate withdrawal of the newly introduced tax and cargo clearing system where tax meant for the East African Community members is collected in Mombasa through the Single Customs Territory (SCT).

Led by KIFWA Chairman William Ojonyo, the members lamented that in the last four weeks, they have incurred losses as they are unable to clear goods from the port after the government included vehicles and steel to be taxed and cleared using the Ugandan Asycuda system.

Out of the 1,500 registered clearing agents in the country, only 139 were trained on the new system but only 5 per cent who are multinational companies, have access to the system password creating delays in clearing and congestion at the port.

This follows the government’s decision to have vehicles and steel which form a bulk of the exports to Uganda, taxed and cleared using the new taxation system Asycuda a month ago, though the system was introduced late last year for bulk items like food stuff.

Ojonyo has claimed that the Ugandan government through Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), is not interested in making business easy for the Kenyan businessmen as they are reluctant to train more agents yet if one makes a mistake with the system they are forced to pay a fine of 300 dollars or an estimated Ksh 30,000.

They are now pleading with the government to halt the new system and revert all business to KRA’s Simba System until all agents are trained on the Asycuda system.

They fear the delay in training more personnel will lead to massive loss of jobs.

Report by Miriam Wathuo

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