When the government, through the Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards sought to clamp down on both tax evasion and counterfeit goods, little did it foresee the mess that would unravel at the Nairobi inland container depot (ICD).
At the centre of this crisis is consolidated cargo brought in by small-scale traders. Authorities insist this cargo must be inspected, even when it had been subjected to the process in the country of origin by Kenya Bureau of Standards-appointed agencies.
Consolidated cargo is the term for when importers pool parcels to form one consignment, which is often declared as belonging to one importer at the port of destination or de-consolidated into the original individual consignments for delivery to the respective owners.
About 1,000 containers belonging to small traders are being held at the ICD on suspicion of tax evasion and bringing counterfeit goods into the country.
The magnitude of the problem came to the fore past week, when Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta made impromptu visits at the depot two days in a row and ordered the vetting and registration of all import and export cargo consolidators to root out tax evaders.
By The Eastafrican