The government has taken measures to seal gaps that have given avenue to smugglers to conduct illicit trade the along the Kenya –Ethiopia border.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Deputy Commissioner (DC) for Customs & Border Control, Major (Rtd) Samuel Kariuki said the government desires to ensure that trade along the Kenya-Ethiopia border conformed to set global standards.
Major Kariuki said told KNA that KRA has developed a multi-sectoral approach so as to address the smuggling menace by dishonest merchants at the border who were out to evade taxes.
The DC said investigations carried out by the authority in Moyale and Sololo Sub-counties which border Ethiopia found out that there existed panya routes used for bringing into the country contraband goods at Sessi, Laga, Moyale and Forole areas.
He said that measures that included collaboration with the Ethiopian government have been put in place to ensure that there was compliance among traders.
Smuggling of goods through the Kenya-Ethiopia border remains a big challenge to concerned parties who include security agencies, Kenya Bureau of Standards and the KRA.
“Through the framework, trade not only between Kenya and Ethiopia but all our neighbours would be facilitated so as to enhance production in the manufacturing and service delivery sectors,” said major Kariuki.
The Marsabit chapter of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants customs’ officials and other agencies that manned the border points to be held accountable for the increased illegal trade and tax evasion.
The call comes in the wake of arrest of two suspected businessmen who were found with 7, 000 litres of contraband diesel valued at Sh.800, 000 in Moyale town.
He pointed out that sugar, leather, clothes, petroleum products and leather products were the most commonly smuggled goods into the country.
The DC added that through the multi-sectoral approach, the government was carrying out awareness campaigns to educate members of the public on the flaws of engaging in illicit trade.
He however, cautioned that those caught engaging in smuggling that they would be dealt with decisively if caught.
By Sebastian Miriti