Clock ticks as State receives plan to enforce car age limit

Proposal imposes ban on importation of vehicles that have been in use abroad for over five years

Ministry of Industrialisation is set to review a draft copy of Motor Vehicle Policy (MVP), testing the limits as to whether the contentious plan can be adopted before the new year.

Kenya Motor Industry Association chairperson Rita Kavashe told People Daily the policy was now under the care of the ministry after its formal submission on September 5.  

“We actually submitted the policy to the ministry on September 5. I think if we are lucky it can go this year, if not, chances are very high it can spill into early next year, but we are pushing for this year,” she said in a telephone interview,

The policy was being prepared by Kenya vehicle assemblers in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. However, it has continued to face hostility from car importers who insist they were not consulted when such plans were being mooted.

The new legislation is meant to shield local vehicle manufacturers from what new vehicle dealers believe is unfair market competition brought by importers of second-hand vehicles. It seeks to lower the age limit of car imports from eight to five years and have vehicle manufacturers increase the number of locally produced cars.

The auto industry had hoped to have the new regulation in place by September this year, but it delayed owing to changes in the ministry which saw previous occupant, Adan Mohamed swap ministries with Peter Munya, from Ministry of East African Community and Northern Corridor Development.“The changes partly contributed to the delay but the ministry is on it. The draft policy is actually ready and as far as I know Ministry of Industrialisation will review it before a stakeholders’ engagement is convened to have a fresh look at it,” said Toyota Kenya’s chief executive Arvinder Singh Reel, who admitted the process could take time. Before adoption of the policy, Industrialisation ministry’s Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary are expected to conduct an internal review of the policy before it is shared and circulated to other relevant government agencies for their input.

Final process

The final process would then see the policy submitted to the Cabinet for endorsement. “The bulk of the work will be with the stakeholders’ workshops and engagements, so that would take time,” said Kavashe.

With the process now in motion, the development is likely to create further anxiety among second-hand car importers, who in an interview yesterday maintained that the move was not well thought-out and could be catastrophic for majority of players in the industry.

“We have not been engaged since the new minister replaced Adan Mohamed, but you see it is not a good move. Jobs will be lost, owning a car will be very expensive for most of the young people who rely on car imports ,” said Charles Munyori, secretary-general of Kenya Auto Bazaar Association.

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