Eyes on small traders as Kebs inspection fees cut

A man carries pillows on his head from Gikomba Market in Nairobi on April 29, 2020. Traders are paying dearly to replenish stocks following the mitumba imports ban in March this year.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya Bureau of Standards is chopping cargo inspection fees by over 80 percent for retailers following the President's directive.
  • Importers and Small Traders Association (ISTA) has not respond to queries on whether benefits will trickle down to consumers.

All eyes are now on small traders who consolidate their imported cargo and sell in downtown Nairobi who are expected to cut the price of their goods after the cost of importation was reduced.

This follows Kenya Bureau of Standards starting to implement a presidential directive that chops cargo inspection fees by over 80 percent for retailers who have also been given a special clearing depot near the Kenya Railways headquarters.

Kebs Managing Director Bernard Njiraini on Wednesday said the move will see importers allowed to clear cargo in the country at 0.6 percent of the value instead of the previous five percent they had been subjected to after the government waived the compulsory inspection of goods at the source country.

“Kebs will now charge them an inspection fee that is equivalent to what they would have paid if inspection had been done in the country of exportation. Previously all traders paid for the destination inspection at the same rate.

“Now guided by the directive, we are working with speed to enshrine the new charges into the legal notice,” Mr Njiraini wrote in an email response to the Nation.

Traders will also be allowed to clear goods individually at the Nairobi Railway Station, eliminating the need to use costly agents and the Sh100,000 container deposit.

The depot opened last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta is also located closer to the central business district, cutting millions of shillings in transport cost previously incurred by traders to move from the Inland Container Depot into their downtown business premises.

Small traders who prompted President Kenyatta to issue the directive while officiating the launch of the new depot were, however, mum on how the new relief will trickle down to the consumer, heightening concerns that they may choose to harvest from it entirely instead of passing it down like it has happened with previous trade reliefs.

Importers and Small Traders Association (ISTA) Organising Secretary Ann Nyokabi did not respond to queries on whether benefits will trickle down to consumers who the government had also targeted by the plan.


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