RELIEF

KRA extends licence deadline for customs agents

This is for operating licenses for the year 2022.

In Summary

•Agents had until September 1, to have submitted documents.

•The deadline has been extended by 30 days.

Clearing agents at the Nairobi ICD /FILE
Clearing agents at the Nairobi ICD /FILE

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has extended the deadline for renewal and applications for customs agents, giving a much needed relief to companies operating in the country.

This, even as the taxman moves to clean up the registry in the wake of sale of companies mainly to Chinese by Kenyans, before licensing agents for the year 2022.

At the height of the pandemic and reduced business, a number of struggling locals are said to have sold their companies to foreign entities keen on doing business in Kenya.

KRA is also keen to catch up with tax evaders and customs agents involved in cargo diversion, mainly transit goods to the landlocked country of Uganda which is the biggest destination for transit cargo through the Port of Mombasa.

Customs agents, who are basically clearing agents, had until September 1, to submit the required documents for renewal of their licenses.

There are about 1,000 customs agents (companies) under the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA).

The association on August 27 requested KRA to extend the deadline citing challenges in obtaining key documents such as Tax Compliance Certificates, Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Good Conduct from the National Police.

“The process has been exacerbated due to laid down Covid-19 mitigation protocols, which has drastically slowed down processing of the said documents by various government agencies,” KIFWA national chairman Roy Mwanthi said in the letter.

Yesterday, Mwanthi confirmed a number of local companies had been sold off.

“Business has not been good and a number of directors have let go their clearing firms. I am sure KRA will do due diligence in ensuring we have the right people doing business,” he said.

In a letter dated August 31, KRA Commissioner Customs and Border Control, Lilian Nyawanda, said the request by Kifwa had been “given due consideration,” and the deadline has been extended by 30 days.