Kenya to help Somalia levy import taxes.

kenyan-foreign-minister-moses-wetangula

Halkaan ka akhri

NAIROBI (AFP) – Somalia will soon be able to levy taxes on imports from Kenya before goods are flown in, in a move designed to sideline extortionist warlords, Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said Friday.

He said the move would prevent the warlords taking their own cut on the Somali end, and provide the embattled Somali government with much-needed cash to build up their security forces.

“The Somalia government wants us to assist them levy taxes and we have agreed… Once the taxes are collected, Somalia can be in a position to pay their police to secure the border,” Wetangula said.

“We have signed an agreement on this. It is only the final modalities that are being worked on,” he said at a press conference.

Wetangula did not provide specifics but said that goods exported to Somalia from Kenya’s Mombasa, Wilson (Nairobi) and Wajir airports would be taxed before departure and proceeds surrendered to Somalia.

He explained that, at present, the only taxes on imports from Kenya were imposed by Somali warlords thus contributing to thwart the fledgling transitional government’s state-building efforts.

“There are warlords there who control border points, they collect revenue and this does not go to the government. That is why we signed a protocol to that effect,” Wetangula said.

He added that Somali customs officers would be posted in Kenyan airports.

However, Kenya’s khat farmers and traders feared that the new measure would simply result in double-taxation.

“If they levy a tax on miraa (khat) in Kenya, there is no way we can avoid paying the warlords in Somalia right now,” Kimathi Munjuri, from the main umbrella group of khat producers, told AFP.

“So I’m not sure how this can work, we need a clearer picture.”

The mild narcotic leaf is chewed by millions in Somalia and is one of Kenya’s top exports to the neighbouring country.

Nairobi has recently voiced fears that extremist Islamic groups operating in Somalia could target Kenya and is keen to boost security at the border.

Source:   AFP

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