KENYA: The new law of the imports of registered number plated cars which caused a delay in the release of new imports and piled storage costs is now resolved as The transport sector regulator has announced the availability of the number plates now.
Jacqueline Githinji, the NTSA director in charge of registration and licensing, said the number plates are now up to date and all registered vehicles will have them by tomorrow to enable them leave freight stations.
The shortage that lasted for weeks held up imported motor vehicles, creating congestion at container freight stations and the port of Mombasa.
Last week, car importers raised concerns over the shortage, saying it took about two weeks to get the numbers plates. Meanwhile, they were incurring additional storage costs of up to Sh39,200 per unit.
The Car Importers Association of Kenya said production of the number plates had failed to meet the high import rate of vehicles, which usually spikes towards the end of the year.
More than 3,500 units have been stuck at different container freight stations in Mombasa for the last week awaiting number plates for clearance. Imported used motor vehicles are disallowed to leave the port or CFSes without number plates, even when duty has been paid and registration is completed.
The influx of vehicle imports has been even higher over the past three months as importers rushed to beat the age limit deadline December 31, lest they incur losses on those manufactured in 2007. The huge demand subsequently overstretched the Kamiti Maximum Prison, which manufactures the number plates.
CIAK chairman Peter Otieno said imports of small units increased to about 15,000 per month since October, from an average of 12,000 units in other months.
“Number plates are now up to date. We are now on the S-series of KCB. By Christmas, all registered vehicles will have received the number plates. Production now meets the number of registered imported cars,” said Githinji.
She dismissed a request by car importers to clear cars without number plates, saying the move would create confusion and pose a security risk.
“Customs cannot allow vehicles to leave the CFSes without number plates. All vehicles must have the plates before going into the roads,” said Githinji.