Cabinet Secretary for Trade Industry and Cooperatives Peter Munya received a backlash from Members of Parliament for appearing before the National Parliamentary Committee to uphold the decision agreed on the importation of cars that are eight years of age.
In April, a meeting called by Ministry to validate the policy which was a proposal by the government to reduce the age of imported used cars from eight to five years this year, as contained in the draft National Automotive Policy turned chaotic after industry players demanded that their views be incorporated first.
Members of the Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA) and the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) vehemently opposed the policy claiming the government proposal was tailor-made to cushion Asian, European and American multinationals from huge taxes.
On Tuesday, MPs uproared the CS for telling the committee that the government was prepared to delay the policy implementation of the eight-year ban by a year because the industry players had not been consulted over the matter. He could not give a status report as the MPs insisted on inclusive consultations or try to convince them about the worst case scenario if the policy was changed.
“We speak on behalf of the people who want to buy a new car but cannot because of the cost implication. The duty paid is just too huge and please. Just tell us this was one of those many roadside declarations. I personally drive a second-hand car because a new one is so expensive and you never consulted us on this draft policy,” their chairman Kanini Kega shut him down.
CS Munya told the MPs that the policy would help with the expansion of the three local car assembly plants and create jobs, but was faulted by Aldai MP Cornelly Serem.
“Tell us how many jobs have been created from the three assembly plants and the number of ordinary Kenyans who are able to buy a new car,” Mr Serem said and also sought to know the directorship of the companies.
To save the day, CS Munya said the proposal was a work in progress and it remains a draft until it is given the authenticity it requires by MPs as the policy is going through motion and noted that stakeholders have one year to brace themselves for what is about to come.