Kenyan Government Commits to Supporting Traders Amid Market Challenges

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Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade, and Industry Rebecca Miano recently met with Nairobi market representatives to address key challenges facing traders in the country.

The meeting, held at the Deputy President’s residence in Karen, focused on crucial issues such as taxation, counterfeit goods, and import and export rebates. Among the recommendations was the implementation of a fixed benchmarking fee of Sh2.5 million for all containers at the port, reduced from Sh3 million, to standardize costs and enhance transparency.

Stakeholders also agreed to ensure that tax increases or policy revisions are not enacted without thorough consultation with the trading community. They also prioritized the finalization of the Trade Development Bill to streamline trade facilitation by regulatory bodies.

Deputy President Gachagua announced negotiations between the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), and shipping lines to release withheld goods. Importers will pay the initially agreed duty for the containers, with KRA expediting clearance for release to traders by next week.

Cabinet Secretary Miano hailed the meeting as a significant milestone in creating a conducive trading environment. She emphasized the importance of the recommendations in addressing longstanding challenges, highlighting the need for cooperation with stakeholders.

The meeting followed threats of protest by members of the Nairobi Business Community (NBC) over what they perceive as burdensome taxes. Traders expressed concerns about the high cost of living and the struggling economy, urging the government to be considerate, especially towards small-scale traders.

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