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Tourism CS Alfred Mutua reaches out to KRA chief in JKIA tourist drama

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua has asked the Kenya Revenue Authorities (KRA) to implement the new tax policies at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) professionally and humanely.

Mutua, in a press briefing on November 2, 2023, explained he had reached out to KRA Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga over the subject that had attracted varied reactions from Kenyans on social media.

The CS warned that an aggressive approach from KRA officials and authorities at the JKIA could keep away potential visitors from Kenya.

“I have this morning had a telephone conversation and scheduled a meeting with Mr. Humphrey Wattanga, the Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority, to discuss how we can work together to grow the tourism and travel industry. Mbele iko Sawa,” Dr Mutua said.

The planned meeting comes amid new measures by KRA that seek to tax all new items valued at above $500 (about Sh75,000) brought into the country.

KRA in a recent statement, clarified that all the used personal items/effects are exempt from customs duty.

The tax collector stated that scanning of a traveler’s baggage is done to ensure correct declarations for purposes of taxation and to screen out prohibited and restricted goods for the safety of all Kenyans.

“Items flagged out after the first line x-ray/non-intrusive scanning process will undergo a physical inspection by the Customs Officer,” KRA said.

Also, KRA reiterated that the imported goods are subject to customs duty, and a passenger is required to self-declare the actual price and that the duty will be paid (if any) based on the actual purchase price as declared by the passenger/traveler.

All passengers have also been required to declare the specified items in the Passenger Declaration Form (F88), before arrival in Kenya and present it to a Customs official at the entry point.

Kenya has positioned herself as a leading tourist destination in Africa with close to 2 million visitors touring the country each year.

Mutua recently unveiled an ambitious plan to increase the annual number of tourists to 5 million by 2027.

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