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Clearing agents threaten to down tools over licences

Clearing agents who are members of the Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association (Kifwa) have threatened a completely paralyse the sector if they are not issued with their 2017 licenses within seven days.

The over 1,000 agents met at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday and appointed an interim taskforce of eight to negotiate with the government over the licenses.

They have further called on KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini to confirm the authenticity of a document setting out new vetting requirements, named the stakeholder’s bio-data form, which they say is a deliberate scheme by cartels that are bent on killing small and medium companies.

“We disown any information we may have submitted to Kenya Revenue Authority in that form because we were coerced and put under duress,” said William Ojonyo of Keynote Logistics.

“That form is not KRA’s work and we know whose interests it is meant to serve and that is why we are demanding that the Commissioner General comes out clean on this,” Mr Opiyo added.

VETTING BEFORE ISSUING LICENCES

KRA insisted on the vetting of all clearing agents before awarding the licenses but the interim leadership led by Mr Ojonyo countered this by demanding that KRA’s top management be vetted in public before the scrutiny of agents can begin.

“We all know the mess that is [at] KRA so we demand the immediate vetting of the body before they can continue with any process of vetting our agents,” he said.

He said the delay in issuing them with licenses is a ploy to favour multi-national firms at the expense of local enterprises.

The meeting passed a resolution to reverse their earlier decision of a countrywide go-slow, saying they are giving dialogue a chance, a process they want the taskforce to spearhead together with KRA and other stakeholders.

In the highly-charged gathering, the delegates also demanded for a multi-stakeholders forum with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Mr Njiraini.

They further questioned the outcome of the three petitions delivered to the Cabinet Secretary, Parliament and KRA.

“At the meeting we shall demand for answers as to what happened to the three petitions because important matters such as vetting and licensing of our agents cannot be decided without our involvement,” the chairman said.

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