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Taxman and Kebs blamed for cargo delays

Cargo delays at two major entry points in the city are harming the clearing and forwarding industry making agents incur losses.

Clearing agents at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) claim freight is usually detained even after all taxes are paid.

“We are fined Sh2,000 for every kilogramme of delayed cargo at the airport. Importers also have to incur other storage charges,” said William Ojonyo, the chief executive at Key-note Logistics Limited.

The Inland Container Depot in Embakasi which occupies 29 hectares is another entry clearance zone blamed for delays. This is where most cargo transported by train is offloaded and cleared.

During an interview at the weekend, Mr Ojonyo who is the clearing agents’ associations chairman said the problem originates from lack of communication and synchronisation in roles between two government agencies in the industry.

“The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) are pulling in different directions,” he said.

He added that KRA officers were never bothered with deadlines. The agents said quarterly consultative meetings were suspended without any official communication since the new KRA management took office.

“What is happening here is not isolated. The situation is the same in all clearing and forwarding zones in Kenya,” said Kenneth Mbaabu, the director at Tyke Logistics.

The 258 custom brokers now want President Uhuru Kenyatta to come to their rescue.

They claim attempts to schedule meetings with both KRA and Kebs have proven futile.