Drama At The Airport as Two CSs Address Passenger Harassment at JKIA

Drama At The Airport as Two CSs Address Passenger Harassment at JKIA
Drama At The Airport as Two CSs Address Passenger Harassment at JKIA

Kenya is importing new machines to scan travellers at its airports as it moves to ease the pain caused by the taxman while ransacking bags in a bid to net more taxes.

This was revealed on a day of drama where two Cabinet Secretaries held separate press briefings on Tuesday to address the public outrage on the growing harassment by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials on passengers arriving in the country.

Roads and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen convened the first multi-agency meeting at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) offices at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to discuss how to improve service delivery.

“We have agreed after a lengthy discussion that we must establish an airport charter that brings together immigration, police, port health and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), KAA and sign it by the end of this month,” said CS Murkomen.

“I am happy to announce we have also resolved the Greenfield terminal dispute. The place is free for us to go to the market and ask private investors [for funds] so we can partner under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.”

The charter will provide a governing council chaired by the managing director (MD) of KAA that oversees the airport’s operations.

“There has been this blame game at the airport where if something happens with the customs, the KAA says it wasn’t us, it was the customs department and when it’s the police they shift blame to the police department, we want to cut that out and have the airport operate as one unit,” said CS Murkomen.

Mr Murkomen said that JKIA and other airports in the country had been operating without a charter and one must be signed by the end of this month to ensure better service delivery at the points of entry.

The KRA directive to tax personal or household items worth $500 (about Sh75,000) and above, whether new or used, by tourists visiting the country has not sat well with visitors or local travellers.

The taxman stands accused of taking advantage of the directive to harass tourists, hence giving the country bad publicity.

On his part Tourism and Wildlife CS Alfred Mutua held a separate media tour, accompanied by top KRA officials including commissioner general Mr Humphrey Wattanga Mulongo, as he welcomed new arrivals from New York.

“We want to assure our visitors that when you come to Kenya, you will not be harassed nor will your bags be opened unless necessary and the KRA has the mandate to be the last point of contact with visitors,” said Mutua.

“If you’re bringing prohibited goods, or restricted goods, like drugs, guns or drones among others, some of these will require a permit.”

“If you’re coming in with items that should be taxable to sell them, then you will need to pay taxes and the process is clear, the bag is scanned from outside before you board and before you exit.”

Mr Wattanga said KRA’s mission is to ensure that passengers are accorded the dignity and respect they deserve and that their belongings are handled with grace.

Reforms at the KAA came with new management three months ago intending to enhance service delivery.

Visitors at the JKIA are required to alight from vehicles during the first round of screening, a pain point that Kenyans have highlighted on various social media platforms which results in long queues and delays.

“We will deploy technology to facilitate self-checking by passengers to speed up movement,” said CS Murkomen.

“On the advanced passenger information system we are working on a PPP model and within the next six or eight months we will make progress on the existing equipment like scanners, we will enhance them by purchasing more and we hope it can be done by the end of this year.”

Other reforms include ensuring companies providing parking services increase the exit and entry booths, deploying an Advance Passenger Information (APS) system to provide prior information about passengers for more efficiency, canopies at the airport to shield passengers from the rain and standardized prices of goods and quality of food at the eateries.




Drama At The Airport as Two CSs Address Passenger Harassment at JKIA

Comment on the article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

%d bloggers like this: