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Kenya to host East African Community delegates on trade

George Kebaso @Morarak

Kenya is set to host over 100 delegates from the East African Community (EAC) to discuss matters affecting the trade system in the region.

The conference will bring together stakeholders from the International and domestic logistics business, warehousing, transport and fleet management, and insurance companies.

This comes at a time when the government has moved a notch higher in the fight against counterfeit goods. Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the destruction of contrabands valued at over Sh1 billion that were nabbed by a multi-agency task force team bringing together various government agencies.

The players in the logistics and supply chain will be discussing the weaknesses in the logistic system to facilitate more vigilance on illicit trade. The discussions are expected to dismantle the walls existing between the private sector and government agencies.

Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) chairman, William Ojonyo said the mandate of government agencies should be to reduce the vise rather than to punish the culprits.

He said giving targets based on the number of culprits or goods apprehended as an appraisal to regulators is only acting to encourage rather than deter illicit trade

Ojonyo said that a case in point is when a department of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is appraised on revenue raised on offenses rather than companies or importers made to comply.

“As players in the logistics and supply chain we must all come together with open minds where we need to discuss and bring to fore the weakness in the system to for us to fight illicit trade, it  is time the walls between the private sector and the government agencies are brought down for meaningful engagement,” he added.

He said such a move only makes the department more corrupt since officers in charge collude with corrupt cartels on cost sharing, a situation that encourages more incidences of none compliance at the expense of credible trade practices.

“There can be no progress in the fight against the proliferation of contrabands in the country if fair competition is not encouraged,” Ojonyo said.

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