Ugandan traders fault Kenya’s business policies
Posted Monday, January 28 2013 at 00:00
Unfair auctioning of goods to Uganda and high tariffs are some of the major complaints.
The Ugandan business community has put Kenyan authorities to task over alleged ‘anti-business policies’ implemented by both Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Speaking at a KPA stakeholders’ workshop held in Kampala last week, traders mentioned high tariffs, vanishing, holding and unfair auctioning of goods destined for Uganda as the highlights of the unfair treatment they continue to undergo while in Kenya.
Mr Kassim Omar, the chairman of the Uganda Clearing and Forwarding Association (UCIFA) was bothered by the increasing costs of clearing goods at Mombasa port yet the port is receiving more business; thus, enjoying economies of scale.
“KPA is experiencing a bigger turnover each year, meaning business is growing. One would expect that because of increasing business volume, we would be enjoying economies of scale in form of low costs. But the costs are just increasing. It is becoming particularly very expensive for traders to use Mombasa,” Mr Kassim Omar said.
Additionally, Mr Jjemba Mulondo, a member of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), said many Kampala traders have reduced from owning multi-million shops to nothing due to loss of their goods in Kenya. He particularly cited two traders who imported 32 containers to Mombasa last year but have since lost 19 containers to the auctions at the port, while the remaining 13 will also be auctioned next week.
He elaborated: “Our members are losing cargo. Lately, KPA is becoming more inconsiderate than Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). They decline to agree on waivers, hold our goods and then auction them using tricky systems that Ugandans don’t understand.”
Reacting to the various grievances tabled, KPA managing director, Mr Gichiri Ndua, said Mombasa port is for the entire region, arguing that the high costs are a result of the ongoing investments undertaken at the port to cope with current and future cargo traffic.
He said: “Business at the port is increasing and the port is also being expanded to cater for the growing business. It is highly unlikely that there will be economies of scale in such a situation.