The Star (Nairobi)

31 March 2014

Kenya: Secondhand Motor Vehicle Import Rules Won't Change - Adan

Importers must put up with the current used motor vehicles rules after the concerned ministry dismissed calls to have the system harmonised.

Adan Mohamed, cabinet secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, said the law on age limit of imported second-hand vehicles is clearly spelt out and must be adhered to as is.

Car Importers Association of Kenya has been pushing to have dates used by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Revenue Authority streamlined to end confusion on used vehicles.

The association's chairman Peter Otieno said Kebs, which is tasked with inspection of vehicles' roadworthiness, grades them as per the year of their first registration while KRA uses the month of first registration to compute taxes.

Otieno argues that this has brought about confusion on the age limit issue leading to importers paying extra taxes of between Sh60,000 and Sh1 million to the taxman.

"There is nothing like confusion. Why is it that the importers usually have problems towards the end of the year yet they don't complain in other months?" Mohamed told the Star last Wednesday.

Apparently, importers usually bring in more second-hand vehicles around December because prices are lower in most source markets at the time. This leads to late imports which are finally locked out as they arrive in the country having exceeded the age limit, Mohamed said.

"Importers know the time that a vessel takes from the point of origin to Kenya. If they import used cars within the set specifications and required standard, then nobody will be complaining," he said.

Kebs amendment published in July 2008 stipulates that all imported vehicles must be less than eight years old from the year of first registration. The difference between date of first registration and manufacture must not exceed a year.

All vehicles must also undergo an inspection by the Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre before shipping into Kenya. Jevic issues a vehicle roadworthiness certificate which is necessary when clearing imported cars from the Port of Mombasa.

All imported vehicles must also be right-hand driven except for special vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines.

"The rule is clear on this. Maybe we can look into areas of concerns in future where through consultation we can amend a few things but as at now, the law is clear," Mohammed said.

Importers however insist that the two different systems used by the State agencies is confusing since the date captured on motor vehicles' logbooks and on the inspection certificate differ, resulting in some vehicles being locked out on the age limit.

Currently more than 2,000 used motor vehicles registered in 2006 in the country of origin are held at the port based on the rule. Kebs is to destroy the vehicles but importers have sought redress court to force the Standards body to release impounded stocks to save them from losses.

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