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Shipping & Logistics

New rules for clearing agents inch closer to reality

Kfwa members
Kfwa members during a meeting in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Bill seeking to regulate and streamline the clearing and forwarding business is inching closer to reality after being taken to shipping and maritime players for scrutiny.

If the players endorse the proposals, the Bill will go to the Attorney General (AG) before it is taken to Parliament.

The Kenya Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders Management Bill is expected to bring key changes in the sector.

Kifwa chairman Roy Mwanthi told Shipping & Logistics in an interview that the Bill has already been taken to the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and other sector players.

“We have already presented this Bill to KMA, Kentrade, KPA, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). We are in the process of taking it to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and other connected government agencies,” said Mr Mwanthi.

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He added that the main reason for his organisation to take the Bill to the shipping players is to prepare them in case the AG would require their input on the document.

“We want them to have the Bill so that they can give us their input and endorsement so that if the Bill is taken to the AG, ...they will not have any objection because they shall have already received the Bill from us,” said Mr Mwanthi.

Clearing agents and freight forwarders are betting on the proposed law to enhance their operations through entrenching professionalism in their business.

Mr Mwanthi said the Bill will bring a new set of rules and regulations.

Before it was taken to the other government agencies, association members deliberated on the Bill.

“The Bill proposes guidelines on the charges we are supposed to levy, how to conduct ourselves in terms of discipline, integrity and membership, suspension among other directives,” he said.

“Just like the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), this is a model Bill for customs agents and freight forwarders.”

The association represents more than 1,000 clearing firms in Kenya.

Kifwa drafted the Bill in conjunction with the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA).

“Currently, we have been operating through East Africa Customs Management Act, which will remain but there will now be an Act of Parliament recognizing customs agents and freight forwarders as a profession, just like the lawyers operate,” he said in an earlier interview.

The proposed law, Mr Mwanthi said will give guidelines on how one will be admitted to the profession.

Under the Bill, one will have to undergo training before being admitted as a profesional clearing agent.

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