Clearing agents protest implementation of single customs territory policy
02 October 2014, 12:37
Bungoma - Clearing agents in various border points across the Country have called on the government to hold consultative talks with all stakeholders before implementing the Single Customs Territory.
The clearing agents said the implementation of the policy will affect livelihoods of agents at various border points who depend on the trade.
Speaking in Malaba border Tuesday, Kenya International Freight Forwarders and Warehousing Association (Kiffwa), Technical Team Chairman, William Ojonyo, said the implementation of the Single Customs Territory will place jobs of 24 000 workers countrywide at risk.
“The new policy that is being implemented in stages will threaten the jobs of many Kenyans at the gain of the other East African Countries and we can’t accept it until there is a consultation that is binding,” said Ojonyo.
He said that the process is flawed and put jobs of many people at risk, and that the government should halt the implementation of the new policy until there is full consultation with the clearing agents.
Ojonyo said the clearing agents were the most affected in the implementation since they heavily depended on the income generated from the trade.
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He said the new policy will see all border clearing operations transferred to the port of Mombasa and minimise activities at the Malaba and Busia border points.
“This implementation of the Single Customs Territory will affect the lives of many agents as they will lose jobs in favour of other East African countries,” said Ojonyo.
He stated that the agents are planning to paralyze activities at various border points including Mombasa, Malaba, Busia and Namanga unless the government holds dialogue with them.
The team Chairman said that they were not against the new policy but how the government is implementing it without regards to other stakeholders’ inputs.
He said no one consulted the clearing agent fraternity on their views about the same.
He said the initial phase through which the policy has been implemented has affected the jobs of the agents handling those areas.
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The government has implemented the policy on petroleum products, clinkers for making cement and bulk cargo on rail systems.
“We have seen areas where the government has implemented this policy and it has affected the work of the clearing agents who were handling such cargo. We are now calling on the government to ensure that they sit down with us and review how this policy will be implemented,” he said.
He said that in the near future, the government is expected to implement the policy on other cargos that are destined for other East African countries.
Other countries that have started implementing the Single Customs Territory are Uganda and Rwanda with Burundi planning to join them soon.
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