Owning a foreign registered car will now be more costly

Foreigners from the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) have not been spared

Motorists using vehicles bearing foreign registration number plates are set to be subjected to new tough conditions. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) said those using such vehicles would have to prove they worked in the countries of origin and submit work permits or proof of residency.

Foreigners from the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) have not been spared and will have to provide proof of ownership and if they are an agent of the owner, have power of attorney from them.Diplomats will also have to prove their diplomatic status in addition to proving they work in a diplomatic capacity.

“Prior to gaining entry approval, the foreign operator from EAC and Comesa countries must have a valid temporary importation of road vehicles form (Form C32) which is issued at a border station,” said KRA and National Transport Safety Authority in a joint statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, foreigners from outside the two regional blocs will have to produce valid international circulation permits from countries of origin or pass sheets.“Individuals without these documents will not be allowed entry into or to locally operate a foreign registered motor vehicle, and any such vehicle operated without the above will be impounded,” said the two agencies. Even with all the documents, the car owners will have to apply for a foreign motor vehicle permit, which will be done online via the eCitizen portal. Applicants will need the Form C32 or an endorsed international circulation permit from the country of origin as well as Comesa insurance.

KRA said vehicles whose owners did not meet the conditions should re-export them or risk having them impounded. Some Kenyans have been using foreign registered vehicles, especially from the neighbouring countries, considering they are cheaper, with some allowing older vehicles into their markets. While Kenya currently only allows importation of vehicles up to eight years, Tanzania allows imports of cars as old as 10 years and only recently did Uganda pass a law limiting importation of vehicles manufactured more than 15 years ago. Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan, on the other hand, have no formal age limits for used cars. EAC member states are racing against time to finalise talks on proposals to lower the age limit for imported used cars by 2021. Kenya has already announced plans to limit the age of used vehicles with engine capacity above 1500cc imported to five instead of the current eight years.

Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has maintained that the Government will not backtrack on the proposed change. Japanese auto export company Be Forward’s Market Development Group Global Business Department Manager Kei Tsuchiya said their focus would be on ensuring customers get value on newer vehicles whenever they wanted to resell.

“We aim to ensure that customers are able to capitalise on the vehicles’ resale value to match their dynamic interests,” said Mr Tsuchiya. He spoke at the recent launch of the firm’s new outlets in Ruiru, Kiambu and on Mombasa road, Nairobi.


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