Importers of secondhand vehicles have called for speedy relay of data from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to enable them avoid hefty storage charges.
Vehicles data is transferred from KRA to NTSA after importers have cleared their cars and paid all the required duties, to enable processing of number plates. It is this process that dealers say is taking too much time.
In a seamless system, the data would be mapped into the NTSA system from KRA the moment an importer has cleared all the duties and other taxes from KRA.
The Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK), Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA) and the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) said NTSA should fast-track the relay of the data noting that delays have led them to incur huge storage charges that are hurting heir business.
The NTSA has, however, denied that it is experiencing any delays in their system, saying all applications are processed in time.
Every year, the Port of Mombasa receives about 130,000 units of second-hand vehicles and the importers say they have to pay storage charges amounting to Sh6,000 daily due to delay in clearance of a vehicle.
CIAK chairman Peter Otieno said the problem has recently escalated and called on NTSA to make sure the mapping of data is done faster so that importers clear their vehicles within the shortest time possible.
“Mapping of data from KRA to NTSA should not take more than two days,” he said adding that the inefficiencies at NTSA are costly to traders.
“When you clear your vehicle and pay all the duties, an entry is created by KRA. If you go to NTSA and that entry is not found, it delays the clearance of the vehicle. This thing has been happening and it is hurting our business because we have to cater for unnecessary costs caused by the delay,” said Mr Otieno, adding that recently an importer had to wait for two weeks for data to be relayed between KRA and NTSA.
Kifwa chairman Roy Mwanthi told Shipping and Logistics that the NTSA system is supposed to immediately pick up the details once they clear their vehicles from KRA system to its feeds, but that is not the case.
“Immediately you release cars with KRA, the data is expected to map automatically to NTSA so that importers or clearing agents can go for number plates processing and get their cars. That is not happening and the process takes between one and two weeks, forcing importers to pay storage and demurrage charges,” he said.
The delay, Mr Mwanthi said, has affected many people who have imported their vehicles for use during the festive season.
“There are people who imported vehicles for use during this festive season, but they have been inconvenienced. This is a big problem. We have tried to complain to the NTSA officials but nothing is happening,” he said.
The Kifwa chairman called for direct involvement of the director general to streamline operations at the NTSA.
“Data should migrate from KRA to NTSA, then the data officers at NTSA need to immediately approve and allocate the number. We need a full working system from NTSA to alleviate the suffering of importers.”
Mr Mwanthi said that a car is charged a demurrage of Sh6,000 daily which adds up yo about Sh84,000 in two weeks.
“A lot of money is paid as demurrage because some cars stay for as long as 14 days and this is discouraging many people in the car business. This is colossal amount of money. We need effective systems,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by KABA chairman John Kipchumba who said the trend is worrying and called on the two state agencies to work in harmony to address that inefficiency.
“There is the problem of integration between KRA and NTSA system. Although there is a slight improvement, the problem is still there,” said the KABA chairman.
“Sometimes back it used to take even 30 days but at least it has reduced, although the efficiency needs to be upgraded. It is not as seamless as it is supposed to be.”
He said t both KRA and NTSA need to sit down together and see where the problem lies.
“There must be improvement in integration of the two systems to avert these challenges,” said Mr Kipchumba.
NTSA has, however, said the process is smooth and they are not experiencing any delays.
“We are not experiencing any delays in transmission of registration data. All registration processes are ongoing without any challenges. We have no pending applications,” the NTSA said in a statement.