Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday officially commissioned the country’s revamped commuter rail system in efforts to decongest traffic in the capital, Nairobi.
The system, which will also feature a new light cargo handling facility, was built to improve the ease of doing business in the country, particularly for small scale traders.
“We are also talking about the ease of doing business by our small traders they are our biggest employers and we need to ensure that they are treated fairly, and they are facilitated just like all others are,” President Kenyatta said while commissioning the project.
Kenya’s finance minister Ukur Yatani echoed the president’s comments saying the facility will allow traders to access their goods in Nairobi instead of traveling all the way to the port city of Mombasa as had been the case.
“This initiative coupled with One Stop Border Post (OSBP) has improved the flow and efficiency of goods and services across our borders, with considerable savings to traders,” Yatani said.
He added traders will access their imported goods at the facility without intervention of clearing agents and other intermediaries to reduce the bureaucracy and lower the cost of handling imported goods.
“…we have been closely engaging the traders with a view to solving issues around the importation of their goods. Key amongst them, has been delays in cargo clearance for most traders who import through consolidators,” Yatani noted.
President Kenyatta unveils a commemorative plaque to officially commission the Nairobi Central Railway Station Refurbished under the Modernization Program of the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service. | #NairobiCommuterRail pic.twitter.com/MuYI6v1sLt
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) November 10, 2020
Kenyatta also directed the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) to levy a uniform charge on imported goods irrespective of their size to all businesses.
Small-scale traders, especially those who trade in used clothes, have previously complained of the high cost of doing business due to high taxation rates despite the small volume of goods they handle.