Kenyans will not be able to import second hand vehicles into the country if a new automotive policy advocated for by the Trade and Industry Ministry is implemented.
The National Automotive Policy 2019 seeks to encourage local manufacturing and assembling of goods in the automotive industry by prohibiting the importation of second hand vehicles into the country on a medium term basis.
According to Industrialization Principal Secretary Betty Maina, the policy, which has the potential to greatly add on to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), could come into effect as early as September and consequently boost President Uhuru Kenyatta’s manufacturing pillar of the Big Four agenda.
“The policy is in its final stages, we are currently on version five which we are discussing with the original equipment manufacturers to establish their level of satisfaction with the incentives we are putting in place. It is our plan to have the policy adopted by September, so given the time required for Cabinet to review it, we have given ourselves the timeline to conclude it by the end of 2019,” Industrialization Principal Secretary Betty Maina said at recent investment forum in Nairobi.
According to a news report by the Star Newspaper, the move has conjured mixed reaction from players in the automotive industry with some claiming that the locally manufactured vehicles will lock out low income Kenyans from acquiring cars because of the steep price tags that will accompany the locally made vehicles. Kenya imports approximately 12,000 second hand vehicles each month with the cars retailing at a standard price of Ksh. 1.2 million. New cars however cost at least Ksh. 3 million to acquire.
“Locally assembled cars will also be more expensive. This is going to lock out the poor Kenyan from affording a car which is not a luxury anymore but a necessity,” Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) national chairman Peter Otieno is quoted as saying by the Star Newspaper.
Mr. Otieno similarly insisted that the move which advocates for the importation of knocked down vehicles, whose parts are assembled in the country, will make Kenya a dumping site for car parts considered obsolete in foreign markets.
ALSO READ: New vehicles sales dip in first half of 2019