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Transporters welcome gov’t decision to carry full capacity

The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) has hailed the National Government’s decision of allowing Public Service Vehicles (PSV) to carry full capacity passengers starting Monday, August 9.

KTA Chief Executive Officer Dennis Ombok said the decision will revitalise the economy stagnated by the containment measures put in place to stop spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) Executive Director Ahmed Juneja, National Chairman Salim Karama and National Organising Secretary Harriet Muganda addressing media to praise the National government on the resumption of PSV vehicles to carry full capacity passengers. Photo Galgalo Bocha

He also appealed to the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works to also consider allowing buses to operate at night at full capacity.

“We really appreciate the national government for allowing matatus to operate on full capacity. We also appeal to the President to ensure buses are allowed to operate at night.  When buses come into operation, many people will resume their work, if they allow the buses to resume night travels, our economy will improve further,” said Ombok during a press conference at Tudor Water Sports.

He observed that the pandemic has had adverse effects on the logistic industry, one of the pillars of the country’s economy, and called on the counties and national governments to give it total support.

“In the event this industry is not adequately supported, the Coastal region is then doomed to fail in realising any tangible development, “said Ombok.

The KTA boss however cautioned the PSV operators against failure to adhere to the terms and conditions agreed between the industry players and the government before resuming carrying full capacity passengers in their vehicles.

“Each of the operators must follow the guidelines. The crew must comply with protocols to avoid a surge in the virus that will make the government rescind the decision,” he added.

At the same time, KTA also thanked Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA and Parliamentary Committee on Finance and National Planning over amendment of the Finance Bill 2021 that exempted operators from paying Value Added Tax on transportation of goods on transit across the border.

Ombok, who was flanked by the agency’s Executive Director Ahmed Juneja, National Chairman, Salim Karama and National Organising Secretary Harriet Muganda, said the bill had placed the cargo transporters, under the exempt category, disallowing them from claiming any tax refund.

“The reason why we were not happy with that is that, when we were put under the exempt category, it means that transporters would transport but would not claim VAT refund. It means even with spare parts we buy to maintain our vehicles, we would not claim anything,” they observed.

The KTA officials further said the amendment to the finance bill followed an intense lobbying through Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to have the parliamentary committee and KRA listen to their proposal.

“We thank the parliamentary committee under chair of Gladys Wanga and KRA for accepting to host us and carefully listening to our proposals on the proposed finance bill and eventually accepting to table the proposal in the parliament and pushing for its adoption,” they added.

They argued that the placement of the cargo service providers under Zero rated category has placed Kenyan transporters on a level playground with their counterparts in their neighbouring country and promote fair competition.

“The amendment now allows transporters offering those services to fully claim input VAT on their purchases just like other transporters in the region,” remarked Ombok.

The cargo transporters also called on Mombasa County government to comply with the recent Supreme Court judgment declaring the devolved unit collection of levies on transporters bringing goods into its jurisdiction, as illegal and unlawful.

“This ruling was categorical and the county government was directed to stop collecting cess to which they are still collecting,” said Mr Karama.

By Galgalo Bocha

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