The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI) recently convened with traders from Nairobi’s largest markets to address the challenges facing the sector.

Led by CS Rebecca Miano, the convention was attended by representatives from Gikomba, Kamukunji, Eastleigh, Nyamakima, Muthurwa, and Wakulima markets to directly address the pain points affecting their businesses and come up with solutions.

The discussions highlighted critical areas of concern, including taxation, counterfeits and import and export rebates. Another critical area touched on was the effectiveness of trade facilitation by regulatory bodies such as KEBS, Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The engagement yielded a number of actionable recommendations including implementing a fixed benchmarking fee of Ksh. 2.5 million for all containers at the port. This is in a bid to standardize costs and increase transparency.

Other recommendations include the following.

  • Ensuring no tax increases or policy reviews are made without thorough consultation with the trading community and adhering to constitutional mandates.
  • Prioritizing the finalization of the Trade Development Bill, incorporating public participation as a core element.
  • Streamlining pre-shipment inspections for imports by KRA to simplify and expedite the process.
  • Enhancing the Certificate of Conformity to include joint efforts by ACA and KEBS, facilitating more effective standard enforcement.
  • Developing physical inspection protocols by ACA in consultation with traders, to ensure clarity and fairness in the process.
  • Committing to the release of all seized goods within two weeks upon verification and clearance by ACA.
  • Organizing sensitization forums by ACA, KRA, and KEBS to educate on standards and counterfeit measures.
  • Holding monthly meetings with KEBS, ACA, KRA, and the Police to continually address and review business concerns and the implementation of solutions.
  • Enforcing the directive for the rotation of police officers based at ports and other critical stations to ensure integrity and prevent corruption.
  • Rotating all ACA officers to maintain the integrity of inspections and enforcement measures.
  • Negotiating with Shipping Lines and the Kenya Ports Authority on demurrage costs to reduce financial burdens on traders.
  • Scheduling discussions on copyright issues in the next meeting to protect intellectual property rights within the trading community.

The Ministry also announced plans for monthly consultation meetings with the trading community, starting 10th April 2024. The State Department for Trade was charged with handling Domestic Trade matters and also acting as the Secretariat for the implementation of these and other propose resolutions following consultations.

In her remarks, Cabinet Secretary Miano stated, “Today marks a significant milestone in our journey towards creating a more conducive trading environment in Kenya. The recommendations laid out, born from candid and constructive dialogue with our trading community, pave the way for a robust framework of cooperation, aiming to address and resolve the longstanding challenges faced by our traders. Our commitment to implementing these measures, in collaboration with all stakeholders, is unwavering.”