The government’s move to extend a waiver allowing importation of cars manufactured in 2013 has sparked mixed reactions among car dealers.
While Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) has hailed the move to extend the deadline as positive to avert huge losses post Covid-19 crisis, Kenya Autobazaar Association on the other hand has termed the move as bad for business in that it could create a glut in the market.
Peter Otieno, CIAK chairman said Covid-19 pandemic had led to delay in importation and arrival of vehicles ordered earlier last year and therefore the move was necessary as it would create a breather for those whose shipment were stuck in various countries of origin.
He said most of the vehicles that had been ordered in March and May got stuck in the countries of origin, China, Japan, UK and Singapore when most business shut down due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
“We call on the government to extend the deadline for three months to enable importers clear the vehicles,”said Otieno.
He further added that the delay was caused by increased freight charges by shipping lines which had made importation of the vehicles more expensive.
“Let the government avert further losses on importers who had bought vehicles and were not able to book them for shipment since there were no vessels to ferry them,” said Otieno.
He said that the Covid-19 pandemic created a huge backlog, noting that over 20,000 uncleared vehicles remain in their country of origin awaiting importation. Otieno said that most of the vehicles will arrive in the country by the end of this month.
According to Otieno more than 15,000 units ordered between October and early December 2019 made it into the country before December 31, 2019.
Other car dealers have, however, opposed the waiver. Kenya Auto Bazaar Association chair John Kipchumba said that there has been no exemption issued by Kenya Bureau of Standards.
“We are opposed to the move to allow a waiver for the entry of these vehicles, those who complied with the cut off deadline will suffer huge losses,” he added.