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Economy

Reprieve for small traders as MPs back cargo consolidation

Cargo at the port of Mombasa
Cargo at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Small traders have won a reprieve after MPs blocked changes that would have set them for a tedious declaration of consolidated cargo.

Last week, the National Assembly adopted the proposal by cargo consolidators seeking exemption of the traders from individually declaring their cargo to the Kenya Revenue Authority.

The Treasury proposed to have traders line up to declare their imports shipped in as consolidated cargo in what would have entailed splitting the cargo and subjecting each trader to a full clearance procedure.

The Committee endorsed submissions from the cargo consolidators, clearing agents and shipping agencies, saying declaring cargo individually was “premature for a practice formalised just a year ago.”

Stakeholders like the Dubai-based African Salihiya Cargo and Clearing that delivers cargo from more than 20 cities across the world and into East Africa, opposed the move, saying it would collapse their businesses.

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The firm told MPs the proposal would cripple consolidation business and destroy the industry.

“Additionally, the amendment was introduced in the Finance Act 2019 and should therefore be given time to fully operationalise,” it said in its submission.

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