Kenya creates a stir by lowering the age of imported buses and vehicles.
Long-distance carriers have criticized the Kenyan government’s decision to prohibit the import of used buses and trucks older than three years from production, claiming that it violates the East African region’s transport protocol, which requires consistency of norms and legislation.
According to transporters and truck owners, the new regulation would offer carriers from other East African nations an advantage in the market since Kenyans cannot afford to acquire new buses and trucks.
The organization also alleged that decreasing the age restriction from eight to three is another effort by the government to compel the adoption of the Standard Gauge Railway since it would increase the cost of long-distance vehicles.
According to Salim Karama, a transporter, the new Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) regulation would encourage more enterprises to relocate to other East African nations where similar laws do not apply.
“The government’s decision to prohibit the importation of trucks older than three years beginning July 1 would make vehicles more costly and prohibitive to many carriers, forcing them to shut shop or go to countries where such regulations do not apply,” said Karama.
Dennis Ombok, former Executive Director of the Kenya Transporters Association, criticized the government for implementing such a policy without consulting essential stakeholders such as transporters.
“It is not the goal to reduce the age restriction for long-distance trucks from eight to three years while the age limit for all other vehicles remains eight years.” “The decision is arbitrary,” Ombok said.
“The unilateral decision violates the East African convention for the transport sector, where consistency of norms and legislation is required,” he noted, “yet we will have Ugandan and Tanzanian enterprises importing vehicles that will ply our roads utilizing existing standards.”
Kebs said last week that it would prohibit the entry of such buses and vehicles into the nation starting July 1 of this year.
The decision may cause problems for used car sellers, but it will benefit the local auto assembly business.
“Kebs wishes to inform all stakeholders, and the general public that, effective July 1, 2022, all used passenger minibusses, minibusses, large buses, single articulated and bi-articulated business and double-decker buses shall not be allowed for importation into the country,” said Kebs in a statement Friday.
“All used rigid vehicles with Gross Value Mass (GVM) equal to or more than 3.5 tonnes and up to 30 tonnes should not be authorized for importation into the nation,” Kebs stated.
On the other hand, the standard regulating authority granted second-hand tractor heads and prime movers less than three years old a grace period of up to June 30 next year, after which they would be prohibited, and only new equipment may be imported into the nation.
“Kebs has granted a grace period of June 30 next year to second-hand tractor heads and prime movers not older than three years. They will be prohibited, and only new equipment may be brought into the nation,” stated part of the notification.
However, the standards body said that tiny vans – or microbuses – with a length of up to seven meters and other non-commercial vehicles such as saloons and SUV cars would be permitted to be imported as long as possible they were no older than eight years.