The State has bowed to pressure from importers to withdraw the user charges introduced last week on the single window platform for clearing goods at Mombasa Port.
In a two paragraph statement, the platform’s operator, Kentrade said it had decided to remove the charges which came into effect on February 1 “following consultations.”
“We notify all our stakeholders that following consultations, the recently introduced user fees on the national electronic single window (Kentrade TradeNet System) services have been withdrawn,” said the notice.
The agency had directed importers to pay user fee of Sh5,000, Sh750 for a unique consignment reference number and an arrival notification fee per vessel of Sh7,500, each of the costs attracting VAT at 16 percent.
The withdrawal follows objections by manufacturers that the new levies would hurt the competitiveness of Kenya-made goods in an expanded Africa market.
In its press statement sent to newsrooms, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said, “introducing charges on importers using Kentrade platform only serves to increase input costs that will be passed on to consumers via price increments.
“Why introduce such charges when our partner States allow their manufacturers to access the respective single window systems for free?
This only serves to make Uganda and Tanzania goods cheaper goods cheaper. With a free trade area protocol taking effect soon, Kenya risks losing its remaining stake in local market share,” said KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga.