Economy

Shisha pipes, sex toys, drones clog JKIA customs store

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Terminal 1A at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Ms Lilian Nyawanda, Commissioner for Customs and Border Control at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), said many Kenyans imported such items oblivious of the stringent permit conditions.
  • A huge pile-up of the restricted items at the JKIA customs warehouses has now become a concern with the taxman giving importers a notice to clear them by the end of this month(September).

Large consignments of restricted items, including drones and shisha pipes, have clogged customs warehouses at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as importers delay collecting them.

Ms Lilian Nyawanda, Commissioner for Customs and Border Control at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), said many Kenyans imported such items oblivious of the stringent permit conditions before they could be allowed into the market.

“Most passengers are unknowledgeable or un-informed on prohibitions of goods such as shisha and sex toys and restrictions imposed on goods such as drones and firearms,” she told the Business Daily in e-mailed responses.

A huge pile-up of the restricted items at the JKIA customs warehouses has now become a concern with the taxman giving importers a notice to clear them by the end of this month(September).

Items not collected by lapse of the September 30 deadline will be auctioned or destroyed, KRA said.

“The warehouse has very limited capacity owing to the slow rate at which permits are issued for restricted items such as drones or frequency at which destructions are conducted for prohibited imports,” Ms Nyawanda said.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations require importers to pay a fee of $30 (Sh3,294) for bringing in the drones which are increasingly becoming popular for filming and mapping on agricultural farms, among other uses.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) issues Remote Operators Certificate to fly drones in the Kenyan airspace at a cost of about Sh80,000 with an annual renewal fee of about Sh50,000.

The drones operators further require an airworthiness certificate for $50 (about Sh5,490) in addition to other fees such as "Beyond Visual line of sight" and "Radiotelephone exam".

KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe said the majority of importers whose drones are lying at the JKIA have failed to register them.