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Port of Mombasa records upsurge in vehicle imports

Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga

Motor vehicle imports through the Port of Mombasa recorded a sharp increase in the last week of February to recover from a slump occasioned by implementation of a new formula for calculating tax for second-hand cars.

The imports rose from 189 units to more than 2,498 units in the last week of the month. Kenya Ports Authority said the sector was expected to recover fully this month. “The sudden increase is contrary to assertion by Chairman of the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) Peter Otieno that car import business was experiencing low moments but would resume in March,” the authority said in a statement.

CIAK had claimed that the formula based on the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) had made second-hand vehicle prices increase by an average of 43 per cent thus making them very expensive. Otieno asked Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to stop implementation of the new tax regime which came into force on February 5, claiming it had led to low motor vehicle importation and show room off-take, thus hurting the economy.

“We call upon the government to suspend the CRSP taxation formula since KRA has started effecting it without public participation,” he said. During the week under review, bulk wheat imports discharged at the Port of Mombasa recorded 79,501 tonnes to emerge the leading non-containerised cargo.

Foodstuff accounted for 49.79 per cent of the total 159,642 tonnes general cargo handled with a total of 15 vessels being worked on at the conventional cargo terminal.

While docked at the container berths, the vessels discharged 12,332 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), full and empty and loaded another 11,835 TEUs. Deliveries of containers from the port by road transport also remained high.

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