Just how big a slice do KRA and KPA get from your car import cake?

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September 11, 2013

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Your second hand car is on-board a ship slowly making its way from Japan, UK, Singapore or Dubai to its destination: the Port City of Mombasa.

Assuming you have complied with the three main regulations for importing a car to Kenya, you should be thinking about Customs and Clearance. I am well aware that you do not like the tax authorities and their lion silhouette logo, but you cannot escape them! Very few have done so and lived to tell the tale.

A recap on the main regulations for the back-benchers in this class:Cars from Ship

Right-hand drive vehicles – All cars imported into Kenya must be right-hand drive vehicles. Left hand drives are not permitted into the country unless specified for special circumstances and purposes.

8-year-maximum rule – Cars over eight years since manufacture cannot be cleared at the port of Mombasa. If you already placed a purchase and it’s on Roll on Roll off (Ro-Ro), you could try and send it to Zimbabwe – I hear they have no age limits on imports!

Road worthiness – Did JEVIC or QISJ clear your car for roadworthiness? Make sure they did or your vehicle will be grounded at the Port.

If you haven’t complied with the three main regulations, you need to get off the internet and start worrying. If you’re safe. well, read on!

Let’s delve into Customs and Clearance.

There are well over 1,000 Clearing Agents accredited by the guys behind the lion logo. These Agents access the KRA ‘Simba’ system on your behalf and kick off the duty process. You can contact me as I can do that for you with much ease.

Before or during clearance, you will have to pay an import declaration fee (IDF) of KES 5,000 or 2.25%, of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight), whichever is higher. This fee goes to the Port Authority or KPA if you like.

Once your vehicle is “declared” you then incur the monster charges which go to the KRA:

Import Duty (25% of the Current Retail Selling Price CRSP/CIF Value)

Excise Duty (20% of the sum of the CRSP ‘CIF Value’ and Import Duty)

VAT (16% of the total of CRSP, Import and Excise Duties)

Needless to say, these three charges are what will make you gnash your teeth.

Should you start clearing procedures immediately the ship docks, the total remaining costs would under most circumstances be less than KES. 50,000. Typically, they include Vehicle Registration (usually around KES. 15,000), port storage charges (usually KES. 3,000 a day) and the newly introduced Railways Development Levy [RDL]. I’ll talk about the RDL in detail in a different post.

Keep in mind that the clearing agent you use will charge anything ranging from KES. 10,000 to 20,000 per vehicle. Consider that money well spent to avoid bureaucratic delays should you decide to handle the clearing yourself! Remember my contacts are on top of this blog, therefore don’t be worried if you happen to have your car coming on-board. 🙂


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