Traders turn to Senate in Chinese goods import row

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

Small traders and importers in Nairobi have petitioned Parliament to intervene and help save their businesses in the wake of an influx of Chinese in the local retail scene, government harassment and blanket destruction of goods at the port.

The Nairobi Importers and Traders Association (Nita) told Senate they were been unable to compete with the Chinese traders, including hawkers, due to their ability to ship in cheap products that they use to undercut rivals.

In the petition, the traders said they are frequently subjected unnecessary inspections and raids by both county and national government officers.

The said that arbitrary raid on imported goods at the ports of entry has added to their pain with majority contemplating closing shop.


“We have been promised dialogue and way forward but nothing has happened,” Mr Ben Mutahi, the association chairman told the Senate Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialisation.

The traders have faulted the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) decision to destroy all goods in a container found with a few contraband items, arguing that only the illicit goods should be seized and the rest spared.

This is because a single container could carry goods for up to 10 different traders, giving them little control over what sits in the container.