The Nation (Nairobi)
Kenya Revenue Authority has warned clearing and forwarding agents to comply with a directive to operate outside the port of Mombassa or they lose their licenses.
In a statement to media houses, KRA’s commissioner-general Michael Waweru said those who did not comply would be de-registered.
“It is important for Kifwa (Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association) members to note that they do not have a right to withhold tax revenue that legitimately belongs to the Government,” Mr. Waweru said.
He noted that any delays in remitting the money would lead to “automatic penalties”.
Last week, Kifwa asked its members to stop paying taxes until the directive to kick them out of the port was rescinded.
If the agents stick to their word, then KRA will penalize them, and the cost of importing will definitely shoot up, as the agents will pass the burden to importers.
The directive came in September, when acting Finance minister John Michuki gave the agents until November 1 to vacate the port and carry out their transactions from their offices.
On Monday, Mr. Waweru asked importers to work with the agents who are willing to comply in order to avoid “unnecessary penalties and associated delays”.
The KRA boss said institutions that have proven to be consistently compliant could be allowed to undertake self-clearance.
The directive to kick out the agents from the port, KRA said, is aimed at embracing integrity and efficiency.
However, the agents argue that the move is impossible to implement since the port had not achieved the automation level required to allow them to operate outside the port.
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