It’s been nearly a year since Kenya announced a 35% duty on leather imports, but the Treasury is yet to collect the tax, thanks in part to a disagreement between local manufacturers and importers.
The duty was in the 2018/19 budget and forms part of the East African Community common external tariff.
Kenya increased import duty on footwear by 10%, from 25% to 35% or $10 per unit (whichever is higher) in an effort to stimulate growth in the local leather industry and protect it from the unfair competition cheap imports pose. But the enforcement did not take effect, following a request from large importers for a one-year stay of application.
And the same large importers are planning to lobby for a further stay of application in the 2019/20 budget. However, local tanneries and manufacturers of leather, leather goods and footwear want the duty enforced.
“The government is engaging in double standards by imposing duty on leather products and failing to enforce it,” said Beatrice Mwasi, Leather Apex Society of Kenya secretary general.