Uhuru orders clearance of cargo pile-up at Embakasi depot

President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

What you need to know:

  • On Monday, President Kenyatta faulted the consolidators for contributing to the delays of containers at the ICD.

Small-scale importers have been allowed to collect their containers seized at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi after President Uhuru Kenyatta toured the facility Monday morning.

Peter Masinde, ICD head, said the traders had been permitted collect their cargo immediately.

“We have allowed the collection of SME consignments to start immediately. The traders will be granted amnesty,” he said.

Mr Masinde made the comments shortly after President Kenyatta made an impromptu visit to the facility and ordered regulatory agencies to clear cargo pileup within three weeks.

The President also directed that the containers should be cleared within four days in future. Complaints by traders prompted the President’s visit.

The goods had been confiscated at the facility in the ongoing crackdown on counterfeits and tax cheats.

On Monday, President Kenyatta faulted the consolidators for contributing to the delays of containers at the ICD.

He said only genuine consolidators gazetted after the vetting process would be allowed to work with the traders.

“There are people who engage in consolidation. They bring goods in containers, claiming they are in transit while their real motive is to evade paying tax. That is not right and we will not allow it,” he said.

The President, who toured the ICD for the second time in a span of two days, assured small-scale traders that their goods would 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,” he said.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has been blamed for delays in clearing cargo at the Mombasa port and the inland depot in Nairobi.

There are claims the situation has been compounded by the KRA staff said to be on a go-slow to protest what they perceive as harassment of their colleagues.

The delays are also due to staff changes at the KRA following the interdiction of 75 officials linked to illegal cargo clearance and irregular issuance of tax compliance certificates.

Transport players said the internal staff changes are negatively affecting the movement of cargo at the port and ICD.

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